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Stroke Malpractice

Apr 18

The majority of medical negligence claims regarding stroke treatment allege that a doctor or hospital failed to diagnose the stroke in a timely manner or failed to provide the clot-busting medication tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). Before serious brain cell damage becomes irreversible, there is just a brief window of opportunity to deliver tPA and break up a clot.

The duration of tPA usage is determined by very strict defined criteria. Because the time period begins when a person's symptoms first appear, it's critical to get that information from the patient or the patient's family members.

According to early assessments, tPA is only successful around 30% of the time. Later research has shown that the efficacy is substantially greater.

Failure to provide heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) for a stroke, unlike failure to deliver tPA, is not typically a strong foundation for a medical negligence complaint. For most strokes and transient ischemic episodes, these drugs have not been demonstrated to be of any use (TIAs). Warfarin, on the other hand, is used for heart-related emboli. If a patient has a stroke after quitting Warfarin for another reason (such as dental surgery), the doctor may be held liable for negligence.


Because strokes in young individuals are rare, health care workers may be sluggish to notice the signs and symptoms of a stroke when the patient in front of them is younger than the "average" stroke patient. Unnecessary delays may result in a lifetime of devastating impairment or death for both young and elderly patients, but particularly for otherwise healthy young individuals.



Strokes may strike anybody at any age, although they are most often caused by a vertebral artery dissection ("VAD") in otherwise healthy young individuals. VAD is frequently painless and may occur even when the neck is just slightly stretched. A stroke does not always follow a VAD.

A VAD is a flap-like rip in the inner lining of the vertebral artery, which delivers blood to the brain and is situated in the neck. Where the rip is situated, blood begins to accumulate and clots as a result. A stroke occurs when a clot breaks off and travels up an artery, becoming trapped and blocking blood supply to a part of the brain. Brain cells are starved of oxygen and die when blood supply to areas of the brain ceases. Ischemia refers to the changes that occur in the brain as a result of a lack of oxygen.





Knowing how to spot the signs and symptoms of stroke might be the difference between life and death since there is such a little window of opportunity for successful treatment.

Here are some of the most prevalent stroke signs and symptoms:

  • On one or both sides of your body, sudden onset of weakness, heaviness, or numbness. For instance, dragging a leg and being unable to move an arm are both examples.
  • Language is suddenly lost. For instance, want to say something yet unable to do so.
  • On one or both sides, there is a sudden loss of vision.
  • Blurry vision appears out of nowhere.
  • Face drooping, slurred speech, or drooling that appears suddenly.
  • Loss of equilibrium in a hurry.
  • An excruciating headache appears out of nowhere.

If you see or feel any of these symptoms, call 911 right away and tell them you think you could be having a stroke. Insist on being brought to the closest stroke center feasible.



When a patient with a suspected stroke comes in the emergency room, one of the first things doctors do is order a CT scan right away. The presence of blood outside of the brain's arteries is detected via CT scans. This is critical because there are two kinds of strokes: those caused by bleeding (known as hemorrhagic strokes) and those caused by clots (known as clot-related strokes) (called ischemic strokes). Blood clots are responsible for the majority of strokes. Provided the CT scan reveals no signs of bleeding, the patient may be eligible for tPA treatment if other criteria are satisfied. The patient is not a candidate for tPA if there is signs of bleeding or a hemorrhagic stroke.



A clot-busting medicine known as tPA, administered within 3 hours after the beginning of stroke symptoms, is the first-line therapy for ischemic stroke. The medicine may be administered up to 4.5 hours after the beginning of a stroke in select people. After 4.5 hours, the drug's advantages are outweighed by the danger of life-threatening hemorrhage. The "window" for treatment is a 3 to 4.5 hour period. tPA may be administered up to 12 hours or longer after onset in certain stroke centers, depending on the kind of stroke.

It is preferable if tPA is administered to a patient as soon as possible. To put it another way, if tPA is given 90 minutes after the beginning of symptoms, the patient will fare better than if it is given 2 hours after the onset of symptoms. This is why it's so critical to get a stroke victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

For strokes caused by clots, tPA is not the sole therapy option. A professional (typically an interventional radiologist) physically removes the clot from where it is trapped in the patient's artery using a particular instrument in certain cases. Mechanical thrombectomy is the name of the procedure. Mechanical thrombectomy has been found to be effective in restoring blood flow as long as 8, 12, and even 24 hours after the beginning of stroke symptoms, depending on the location of the clot, the extent of the stroke, and the patient's overall health.

Surgery may be required to alleviate pressure that has built up within the skull in individuals who have had hemorrhagic strokes. Because not every institution has a neurosurgeon on staff, it may be essential to transfer to one that does.

Malpractice lawsuits may arise from a failure to deliver tPA or a failure to transfer the patient to a more suitable facility (such as a Certified Stroke Center) where proper treatment may be administered before it is too late.



Some stroke victims die, while others live but are disabled for the rest of their lives. Stroke victims' relatives are often placed in the unenviable situation of caring for a formerly healthy individual, which may be emotionally and financially draining.

A free consultation with a firm's expert stroke medical malpractice lawyer can be available. They look at stroke care on a regular basis, trying to figure out whether a different approach might have resulted in a considerably better outcome for the patient.