Many patients visit a doctor each year and leave with an incorrect diagnosis. One of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions is stroke, which occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Without prompt medical attention, a stroke can lead to permanent brain damage and death.
If you or a loved one visited a doctor with symptoms of a stroke and were misdiagnosed, you may be eligible for financial compensation. You may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault provider and secure damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The Dangers of Stroke Misdiagnosis
Strokes are life-threatening conditions, but they are also very common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 795,000 people across the country experience a stroke each year. It is not uncommon for doctors to encounter patients who are having strokes.
If a doctor misdiagnoses a stroke, however, the consequences can be dire. Blood supplies oxygen to the brain, and if the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long, permanent damage and death may occur. While most doctors are competent enough to quickly identify stroke symptoms, others may commit negligent errors and misdiagnose a stroke as another condition, such as vertigo, epilepsy, or even a migraine.
How to Prove a Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
To secure compensation in a stroke misdiagnosis claim, you will need to prove that the provider’s negligence caused the misdiagnosis and your subsequent injuries. You and your lawyer will need to gather enough evidence to prove the following four elements.
- The doctor owed you a duty of care. All medical professionals owe a duty to uphold the medical standard of care when treating patients in a formal capacity.
- The doctor breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. Ignoring a patient’s medical history, ordering the wrong diagnostic tests, or failing to examine a patient at all could constitute a breach of duty.
- The doctor’s breach of duty led to your stroke misdiagnosis and your subsequent injuries.
- You sustained damages due to the stroke misdiagnosis that you can claim in your lawsuit.
For example, say that you visit a doctor with symptoms of a stroke, such as trouble speaking, a headache, and numbness in your arm. A reasonable and similarly trained doctor would identify these symptoms as common signs of a stroke and order the proper diagnostic tests to check for this condition. In this situation, your doctor owes you a duty to follow the necessary steps to diagnose your condition based on your symptoms.
However, your doctor breaches this duty of care by failing to order diagnostic tests and diagnoses you with a migraine instead. You later suffer brain damage due to prolonged oxygen loss. Using medical records, expert witness testimony, and other pieces of evidence, you can prove that the doctor’s actions deviated from the standard of care and, had you visited a second doctor, you would have not experienced the injuries and losses you sustained.