A new study has concluded that many strokes are missed in hospital emergency departments in the days before the problems of the stroke become clear. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnoses strokes can have shattering consequences.
The study was retrospective, which means it researched what happened to stroke victims in the time leading up to their strokes. The study confirmed that of 187,188 patients admitted for stroke, only 12.7 percent of the stroke patients visited an emergency department and received a non-cerebrovascular diagnosis in the preceding 30-day period, indicating a potentially missed stroke, according to doctors from Johns Hopkins University.
One in every ten of those non-stroke related discharges were for headaches or dizziness. According to researchers, these were likely strokes. The study confirmed that those most at risk for experiencing an undiagnosed stroke are women, members of minority groups and people under age of 45.
According to the Harvard Medical School, failure to administer early treatment for the most common types of stroke can result in brain damage and other complications. Delayed treatment can result in a more serious stroke, causing long term damage.
Moreover, failing to diagnose early strokes keeps patients out of the loop on how to prevent future strokes. The National Stroke Association lists preventative measures as medication, other medical therapies and lifestyle changes in regards to diet and exercise. In many cases, doctors recommend drugs to treat other medical conditions that lead to stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. There are a number of different medications that can reduce blood clotting, which can also prevent a stroke. When an emergency department misses signs of a first stroke, the patient will not be notified of these options, which could result in a second, more serious stroke.
A Hernando County Medical Malpractice Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you recover your losses if you were harmed due to an undiagnosed stroke. Ultimately, doctors must diagnose and treat strokes, however there are signs that you can be on the lookout for so that you can get medical treatment as soon as possible. The American Stroke Association has come up with the acronym FAST to remind everyone what to watch for.
Face Drooping – Look and see if one side of the face is drooping or if it feels numb. An uneven smile could also be a potential sign of stroke.
Arm Weakness – Check if one arm is weaker than the other or feels numb. When the person raises both arms, look to see if one drifts downwards as this is another sign of possible stroke.
Speech Trouble – When the person talks, take note of if their speech is slurred or if they are hard to understand saying even simple sentences.
Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone you know displays any of the above symptoms, you should call 9-1-1 immediately. Be sure and check the time so that you can tell the doctor how long the symptoms have been present.