When it comes to strokes it’s important that diagnosis and treatment are quick. Where there is a delay in diagnosis, a misdiagnosis, or a delay in providing treatment, such as drugs to help tackle the blood clots, there could be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Identifying the early signs of a stroke is crucial. Strokes interrupt the blood supply to the brain and the longer this happens for, the higher the chances are for serious disability, brain injuries and even death.
Who is at risk of a stroke?
The over 60’s are the most at risk of a stroke. However, it is not just adults that can have strokes. Strokes can occur in children too with 5 in every 100,000 children in the UK affected. The causes of a stroke in a child are very different to that of an adult. You can read more about childhood stroke in the Stroke Association factsheet.
Strokes aren’t only caused by natural causes. Medical negligence can lead to a patient having a stroke.
Whether it’s a medical professional not spotting high blood pressure, not monitoring the effects of a blood infection, or not monitoring a patient on prescription drugs that increases the risk of stroke, mistakes happen and these can sometimes be fatal.
What is a stroke?
The Stroke Association say: “A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off.
Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die.
This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain.
A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate.”
Different types of stroke
Most strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks the supply of blood to the brain. This is an ischaemic stroke.
A haemorrhagic stroke is when there is bleeding in or around the brain.
You can have a mini stroke (known as a transient ischaemic attack or TIA) caused by a temporary blockage to the brain. These tend to be short and last no longer than 24-hours as the blockage moves on.
What is the FAST test
The Stroke Association say that the quicker you receive treatment, the better your chances are for a good recovery.
As every second counts when someone is affected by a stroke you most act FAST.
Face: Look at the person’s face and ask them to smile. Has their face fallen on one side?
Arms: ask the person to raise both of their arms and keep them there. Are they unable to raise one arm?
Speech: ask the person to tell you their name, or say 'hello'. Is their speech slurred?
Time: if you spot any of these signs, always call 999.
Any delays in treatment can be devastating.
What should happen?
Once you have called 999 an ambulance should come quickly to you and take the patient to A&E. They should be admitted to A&E and be seen by someone from the specialist stroke unit. They will assess how the stroke happened, where it is, and how best to treat it.
What treatments need to happen?
The patient will have their blood pressure taken, undergo an ECG, blood tests and either a CT scan or an MRI scan. They may even have a swallow test and tests on their heart and blood vessels.
The patient will probably be given aspirin to thin their blood, drugs to lower their blood pressure and fluids to help with dehydration, especially if they are having trouble swallowing.
If the symptoms come on suddenly then the patient may be given drugs via an intravenous called thrombolysis. This is used in patients between the ages of 18 and 80 within 3 hours after a stroke, when the CT scan has been done and there is no chance of there being a bleed on the brain. There are several cases where even if there is no bleed on the brain the patient wouldn’t be eligible.
When can you claim for negligence?
- You attended your GP with the signs of a stroke but received a misdiagnosis.
- If you didn’t receive an emergency assessment at hospital when you suffered from any of the FAST test symptoms.
- You did not receive the correct treatment on your arrival at hospital, such as a delay in getting you aspirin, or drugs to fight the blood clot.
- You did not receive the correct care following your stroke. An example would be if you had a mini stroke and weren’t monitored correctly or given the right care, which resulted in you having a further, more devastating stroke.
- You suffered a stroke whilst on the contraceptive pill.
- You suffered a stroke because you were on medication that increased your risk of a stroke for another condition and were not monitored correctly by doctors.
How can we help you with your stroke misdiagnosis claim?
At Negligence Claimline our friendly team are here to help you get the support you need. Working with a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors, we can assist you with your potential claim.
Sometimes an apology is enough, but in other cases compensation will be the only solution to help you get your life back on track.
Our service, putting you in contact with one of our expert panel members, is free and you are not obliged to take the advice the solicitor gives you, or to progress your claim any further if you do not wish.