A misdiagnosis that results in not diagnosing a serious medical condition could delay treatment or it might even result in never receiving any form of treatment at all.
For certain types of conditions misdiagnosis can be life-threatening. An example is when a patient suffers a stroke. If this is the case, a Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney can help Georgia patients evaluate the circumstances to determine if the misdiagnosis may be related to doctor negligence in which case a medical malpractice claim may be filed.
Overview of a Stroke
Accurately diagnosing a stroke is critical because blood flow to the brain is stopped. The longer blood flow is stopped, the more likely a patient will sustain brain damage.
One common type is an ischemic stroke, which is when blood flow is halted because a blood clot is blocking the way. Clots can form in the arteries or in other areas of the body. Some can break off and travel to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is another type. A weakened blood vessel bursts, causing blood to leak into the patient’s brain.
Symptoms of a Stroke
One of the challenges in diagnosing a stroke is that many of the symptoms mimic other medical conditions and diseases. Some symptoms come on suddenly, while in other cases they may appear for a couple of days, coming and going.
Some of the symptoms that could indicate a patient is suffering a stroke include:
- severe headache;
- loss of coordination/balance;
- difficulty walking/swallowing/speaking;
- blurred vision;
- muscle weakness/numbness (typically on one side);
- loss of bowel/bladder control; and
Properly diagnosing a patient could mean the difference between life and death. Although older patients are more likely to suffer a stroke, younger adults are at risk as well.
Younger people’s symptoms are oftentimes mistaken for conditions such as:
- inner ear disorder; or
- other health conditions.
While symptoms may be confused with other conditions in some cases, a misdiagnosis may still be considered doctor negligence if the doctor did not follow a standard of care when addressing the symptoms.
A Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney can help Georgia patients and their families evaluate the circumstances and may even utilize a medical expert to review whether the misdiagnosis involves doctor negligence.
Risk Factors for a Stroke
When a doctor is evaluating a patient, it’s important to take into consideration the following risk factors for a stroke:
- high blood pressure;
- high cholesterol;
- heart disease;
- atrial fibrillation; and
- family history of stroke.
Along with analyzing the symptoms a patient is experiencing, any risk factors that appear to be present in a patient should also be evaluated. Then a thorough examination of the patient should be performed.
Tests can also help in diagnosing a stroke:
- laboratory tests;
- CT scan;
- electrocardiogram; and
A misdiagnosis in which the doctor failed to order proper tests when other reasonable professionals would have done so may be a case of doctor negligence, and a Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney may rely on a Georgia medical expert to testify to that effect.
Consequences of Not Diagnosing a Stroke
The effects of a misdiagnosis involving a stroke could be permanent:
- loss of motor skills;
- speech problems;
- brain damage;
- personality changes; and
Those who survive a stroke may be facing high costs for rehabilitation, such as speech or physical therapy. It may result in permanent disability, which could prevent the person from working.
Seeking Legal Counsel with a Peachtree City Medical Malpractice Attorney after a Misdiagnosis in Georgia
If it’s believed that a stroke was misdiagnosed as a result of medical negligence, consult with a Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney. In Georgia, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz can help.
An attorney can review the details surrounding the circumstances, evaluate medical records with a medical expert, and help determine if it’s a valid claim involving doctor negligence. If so, it could result in compensation for the medical expenses incurred, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other financial, physical and emotional losses experienced as a result of the misdiagnosis.