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Dec
2021

Can You Sue a Hospital for Misdiagnosing a Stroke?

on  Medical Malpractice

Yes. You could sue a hospital if you or a loved one were misdiagnosed or received improper medical treatment that led to a stroke.

A stroke is the partial death of the brain due to a sudden disruption of oxygen supply. The condition can be draining for the patient and devastate their loved ones–burdening them with lifetime care and accumulating costs.

A stroke can also be fatal in extreme situations, potentially cutting the flow of income to families and leaving children without proper care. But it doesn’t have to unfold like this.

If a healthcare facility or physician diagnoses the condition in time, they can provide proper treatment and care before severe or lifelong brain damage. For instance, they can administer the tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) to break up blood clots that cause a stroke.

Unfortunately, patients sometimes go beyond the appropriate duration without standard care because of hospital error or misdiagnosis by physicians. This malpractice could lead to irreversible consequences that must be offset with financial compensation.

Hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney could be your best shot at filing a strong stroke misdiagnosis lawsuit and receiving the deserved compensation.

How Do Strokes Occur?

A stroke occurs when clots block blood vessels and interrupt blood flow to the brain. If not corrected, the brain cells will die from oxygen deprivation. The damage can extend to entire brain sections, leading to permanent disability or death.

Stroke can occur in the following ways:

Ischemic Stroke (Clots) 

This results from an artery blockage in the form of a clot that limits blood flow to a section or sections of the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke (Bleeds) 

This occurs when blood vessels rupture, leading to increased pressure in the brain cavity. 

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) 

This “mini-stroke” lasts only a few minutes due to a brief interruption in blood supply to the brain. It’s always an indicator of a future stroke.

Cryptogenic Stroke 

This is a stroke without a known cause. The condition can’t be attributed to a specific risk factor even after comprehensive tests. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke?

Stroke presents the following warning signs:

  • Reduced or blurry vision
  • Tingling feeling in parts of the body like the face or limb
  • Numbness
  • Lost sensation to a body part
  • Difficulty walking correctly or maintaining balance
  • Headache

“Time is brain” when a stroke occurs – and it occurs rapidly. For instance, in an Ischemic stroke, the brain loses up to two million neurons every minute until oxygen supply is restored. When the hospital staff follow standard care and offer a quick medical response, the patient has greater chances of minimizing the stroke’s cognitive and physical damage.

Doctors may fail to diagnose a stroke for many reasons. For instance, they may forget to perform adequate examinations or order the appropriate lab tests. Even if the tests are done, they may still misinterpret the results or fail to screen the patient’s medical history properly.

All these mistakes culminate in a breach of the standard of care for stroke symptoms.

What’s Considered a Breach of the Standard of Care for a Stroke?

Attorneys often refer to the phrase “standard of care” to prove stroke care medical malpractice. The expression defines the professional medical care level that applies to the specific situation in medical terms.

The available resources to the practitioner and their utilization will determine a situation’s actual standard of care. Medical malpractice attorneys arrive at this by ascertaining whether another physician with similar credentials, experience, and resources would have performed the same way.

Healthcare professionals have a brief window to address stroke, so there’s no room for error, and every step matters. A breach of standard care may occur in several conditions such as:

  • Failing to diagnose the stoke
  • Misdiagnosing it for a different illness
  • Failure to work in line with the proper protocol or provide specialized treatment 
  • Treating a stroke patient after the critical three-hour window
  • Failing to request a CT scan
  • Failure to notice the situation’s severity
  • Proceeding with an unnecessary, high-risk treatment procedure that could lead to more harm 

Ring up an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney if you or a loved one has gone through any of the above experiences. 

What Are Your Legal Options?

If a physician or hospital directly caused the stroke or worsened the situation, you may have a high-value medical malpractice case against the responsible party. You’re entitled to recover economic or non-economic damages.

Economic damages:

  • Associated healthcare bills
  • Cost of other treatments and therapies
  • Current and future lost wages
  • Expenses for additional care

Non-economic damages:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Value for pain and suffering
  • Paralysis or immobility
  • Disability
  • Lost mental functioning

The Complexities of Proving Stroke Malpractice

Medical malpractice lawsuits have many legal bases, but the matters aren’t always as clear-cut as an item left inside the patient’s body after surgery. Stroke malpractice cases are more challenging to prove than standard medical malpractice cases.

According to a scientific survey published on AHA Journals, emergency room doctors form 33 percent of physicians facing stroke malpractice lawsuits. But not all victims succeed in their cases.

The American Heart Association researchers studied 246 stroke claims to determine this issue. They found that 56 percent of the patients in these cases earned ZERO payouts. Only 17 percent of the claims proceeded to trial and achieved a verdict in the patient’s favor.

So what makes stroke medical malpractice claims so challenging to prove? Many factors contribute to the hurdles; that’s why it’s always important to partner with a reputable Florida malpractice and misdiagnosis attorney. These include:

Ambiguous, Overlapping Symptoms of Stroke

The emergency condition can lead to different immediate signs characterizing the four main types of stroke. This could cause diagnosis problems, or the doctor may confuse the symptoms with other conditions like metabolic disorders and migraines.

Varying Complications and Risk Factors 

Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes can be genetic. This could make it difficult to establish whether the doctor’s negligence caused the condition. Furthermore, a physician may point out that the victim made wrong lifestyle choices like failing to control diabetes and smoking.

Stroke Malpractice Has a Broad Scope

Florida law defines medical negligence as when a doctor fails to consider the generally accepted stroke care standards in making decisions and providing medical care. The numerous factors contributing to medical malpractice make it hard to pinpoint the right one to build a strong claim.   

Deadline for Filing Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida?

Florida Statutes of Limitations set the time limits within which you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The law requires medical malpractice victims to file their lawsuits within two years after discovering the alleged mistake or after you should have noticed the medical error through “due diligence.”

This time would extend to seven years if the doctor used fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or concealment to hide the medical error.

There’s also another four-year time limit after the alleged malpractice, notwithstanding the date you discovered or should have learned about the harm. But this deadline has exceptions for lawsuits involving young children, where the law allows parents or guardians to file after the four- or seven-year deadline and before the child turns eight.  

How Long Until Medical Malpractice Victims Receive a Settlement?

There’s no standard duration for stroke-related medical malpractice claims. Different cases have taken different durations.

Typically, the more complex a medical malpractice stroke lawsuit is, the longer the time required to settle.

Here are the main factors that could extend your medical malpractice settlement timeline:

  • Novel or complex healthcare issues
  • Novel or complex legal issues
  • Having a large number of witnesses
  • If your case involves multiple health care providers or doctors, each of whom could be liable for negligence

Why You Need an Attorney

Stroke can cause devastating implications to victims and family members. Patients struggle with accumulating medical bills and other non-monetary damages that can incredibly impact their lives. Numerous survivors are left with life-long disabilities. On the other hand, family members struggle with tremendous stress every day and suffer financial burdens.

What worsens the situation for stroke victims is when the condition unnecessarily results from a hospital’s or medical professional’s malpractice or negligence.

Under such circumstances, the patient and their family members must speak with an attorney with an excellent record in medical malpractice and stroke lawsuits. This is the best way to achieve the deserved justice.

An attorney will help your case in the following ways:

  • They’ll use their experience to determine whether the condition resulted from or was worsened by malpractice
  • The lawyers will partner with top medical experts to assess your injury
  • Attorneys will guide you and your loved ones hold the responsible health facility or doctors accountable
  • They’ll protect your rights
  • Negotiations are among the most complex part, but they’ll fight for a sufficient amount to cover your damages

Experienced Florida Malpractice Attorneys Are Ready to Help You

Nothing can truly fix the loss caused by a stroke. However, after a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the financial compensation can ease the burden on family members or other individuals taking care of the patient.

Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA boasts a long history of successful medical malpractice cases. Call us today at (305) 694-2676 for a free evaluation by an experienced medical malpractice attorney.