Did you know that strokes are one of the leading causes of deaths and disabilities in adults in the U.S.? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 800,000 people have strokes every year. While some people go on to live healthy lives following a stroke, many others are left to suffer permanent damage and, in some cases, death.
What Are Some of the Disabling Effects of a Stroke?
The following are typical permanent effects caused by strokes:
- Brain damage. When a stroke occurs, the oxygen and blood supply to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die off. Consequently, many stroke survivors suffer brain injuries that cause short-term memory problems. Although long-term memory is usually unaffected, learning new information and retaining it can be difficult or impossible.
- Cognitive impairments. Survivors of strokes often experience difficulty with thought processing and problem-solving, resulting in some patients becoming overly impulsive. Stroke survivors may also suffer from confusion and problems concentrating.
- Movement difficulties. A stroke often affects the way muscles work due to brain damage that prevents signals from traveling from the brain to the muscles. As a result, some people suffer from movement and balance issues due to muscle weakness, stiffness, or loss of muscle control. Sadly, some people with muscle weakness following a stroke may even suffer permanent paralysis.
- Vision problems. Following a stroke, many people suffer from vision changes. This can be a result of brain damage. Unfortunately, many stroke survivors suffer partial or even complete blindness.
- Communication impairments. Speech and language disorders are common in stroke survivors. This can include difficulty understanding someone else, an inability to speak or choose the correct words, and difficulty reading and writing. When someone suffers this impairment, life forever changes because communication in all of its forms are affected. This effect can change relationships, causing difficulties in marriages and frustration from family members. In addition, the victim may not be able to continue working, causing financial difficulties.
When Medical Negligence Occurs
The sad fact is that some deaths and disabilities suffered by stroke victims could have been prevented if doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals weren’t negligent in their actions. Whether emergency rooms are poorly staffed, medical staff aren’t trained properly, or doctors are in a hurry and aren’t thorough with their examinations, life-threatening symptoms can be missed or misdiagnosed.
Consequently, some patients may get sent home from the doctor’s office or hospital without a diagnosis, and some people may receive the wrong diagnosis. In either event, treatment that could help prevent the disabling and life-threatening effects of a stroke is delayed. When medications aren’t administered in a certain window of time, the effects of a stroke can be devastating.
If your physician overlooked the warning signs of a stroke, or if you believe another medical professional was negligent in diagnosing and treating you and you suffered the disabling effects of a stroke, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands. To find out more about your rights under the law, please request a free copy of our book, What You Need to Know Before Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Case. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give our law firm a call at (703) 721-4233.