The story of one 38-year-old woman shows the devastating consequences of a misdiagnosed stroke. Oregon residents may be surprised to learn that misdiagnosed strokes are relatively common, especially among the younger population.
The young woman woke suddenly during the night with a headache. Reportedly, she felt like her head was "ripping apart." She went to the emergency room where she was subsequently misdiagnosed. The 38-year-old later had a stroke and went into a coma. She ultimately survived the stroke but lives with serious disabilities. She is in the process of relearning to use her body's left side. The recovery and rehabilitation she faces is painful.
The statistics regarding misdiagnosed strokes are shocking. Reportedly, around one out of seven stroke victims in the younger population is misdiagnosed. The failure to diagnose a stroke can turn deadly, since it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
All doctors owe a duty of care to patients. Once a doctor-patient relationship has been established, that doctor becomes responsible for any injury resulting from negligence or malpractice. The standard of a physician's duty of care is measured by the degree of skill and care expected by similarly situated doctors. For those misdiagnosed with a stroke or other condition, medical malpractice lawsuits give victims a legal recourse against negligence physicians. Because victims of malpractice often suffer serious consequences including permanent injury, part of a successful malpractice award may cover medical costs and costs for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. Other compensatory and punitive damages can also be awarded in successful cases. Medical malpractice claims are often complex, and experienced attorneys devote their careers to helping those injured at the hands of negligent physicians.
Source: The Seattle Times, "'My daughter, myself': struggling with stroke recovery," Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, Aug. 4, 2013