If you are experiencing a stroke there is a good chance the emergency response personnel will attribute the symptoms to a different condition.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach
There have been a growing number of misdiagnosed strokes in emergency rooms with disastrous consequences. While stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability in adults, the chances of a misdiagnosing a stroke are alarmingly high.
A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to an area of the brain, depriving brain cells of oxygen.
The brain cells begin to die and a person loses those abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as speaking or lifting an arm.
There are three main types of strokes.
When a blood clot blocks blood to the brain, an ischemic stroke occurs. The major risk factor for ischemic stroke is high blood pressure. Less common, though more likely to result in death, are hemorrhagic strokes caused by a blood aneurysm burst or a weakened blood vessel leak. The third type of stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA or “mini-stroke”), occurs when blood supply to the brain is temporarily blocked. The victim experiences stroke symptoms, but they last only minutes and there is no permanent damage.
Common symptoms of stroke include:
- Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Numbness or weakness in the arm, leg or face
- Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- Dizziness, difficulty walking, or maintaining balance
- Severe headache with no apparent cause
Though more and more people are aware of the symptoms of stroke, there have been a growing number of cases where an emergency room doctor failed to recognize a stroke victim.
A study at Johns Hopkins showed that 13 percent of people admitted to a hospital with a stroke diagnosis had visited the emergency room up to 30 days earlier complaining of dizziness and headaches. Approximately one quarter of those patients returned to the hospital in the midst of a stroke.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits for the effects of a stroke. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!
In many cases, a patient’s symptoms are often confused with less serious conditions.
A person may go to the ER complaining of dizziness or a headache and they are diagnosed with an ear infection or migraine. ER doctors often miss the signs of stroke in minorities, women and those under 45. Because young people are less likely to have a stroke and women are less likely to exhibit classic stroke symptoms such as difficulty speaking, doctors fail to associate their symptoms with stroke. Trouble speaking or understanding can be misinterpreted as dementia in older patients. Language or cultural barriers causing miscommunication may also exist.
Strokes are major medical emergencies and must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.
Effective treatment is dependent on correct diagnosis of the cause of a stroke. In ischemic strokes, the goal is to break or remove the blood clot; in hemorrhagic strokes, the goal is to stop the bleeding. How severely a person is affected by stroke depends on the area of the brain where the stroke occurred and the extent of brain damage. A minor stroke may result in temporary weakness of an arm or leg while a larger stroke can cause permanent paralysis or loss of speech. While some patients recover completely, more than two-thirds will have some type of disability.
If you have had a stroke and are unable to work, you may qualify for social security disability benefits. If you have been denied disability don’t give up, most applications are denied initially. Contact the experienced disability attorneys of Bemis, Roach & Reed for your free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help today.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach has been practicing law for over 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Roach obtained board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lonnie is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Highly experienced in Long Term Disability denials and appeals governed by the “ERISA” Mr. Roach is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Austin Bar Association, and is a past the director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association (Director 1999-2005) Mr. Roach and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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