A stroke, also known as brain attack or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), is a life-threatening occurrence that can either paralyze or kill a person instantly. It is usually the result of a blood clot in blood vessels which causes an interruption in the flow of blood to any area of the brain. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and, though, it can affect anyone at any age, those 65 years old and above are the ones most susceptible to it.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), from 2001 to 2011, at least 795,000 people suffered a stroke; about 185,000 are recurrent stroke events, while 610,000 are first occurrences. Though a stroke may occur unexpectedly, it does have symptoms but, which, unfortunately, are not easily identified (as signs of an imminent stroke) even by doctors due to these symptoms’ similarities with other types of illnesses. The list of stroke symptoms include: numbness in the face, arm, and/or leg, especially if this occurs on only one side of the body; sudden trouble speaking, difficulty understanding speech or confusion; sudden dizziness, lack of coordination, loss of balance, and/or trouble walking; and, sudden trouble seeing (in one or both eyes).
The effects of a stroke depends actually on the area of the brain affected (the specific area where obstruction of blood flow occurs) and the extent of the affected brain tissues. If a stroke, for instance, were to affect the back of the brain, one highly probable result is disability in vision. If the affected area, however, is at one side of the brain, then neurological complications will be on the side of the body affected (which is the opposite side since one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body). This means that, if the right side of the brain were affected, then some of the effects may be memory loss, vision problems, and/or paralysis on the left side of the body. By affecting the left brain, however, it will mean paralysis on the right side of the body, plus speech or language problems and memory loss.
A major stroke is usually preceded by a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA, which medical professionals commonly call a “warning or mini stroke.” TIA typically lasts for about 20 minutes; the flow of blood resumes after this.
For the effective treatment of stroke patients, as well as to help them recover fully, the American Stroke Association, the American Heart Association and the US Food and Drug Administration recommend that they be treated with a tissue plasminogen activator or tPA, a clot busting drug, within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms.
The website of Massachusetts lawyers Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, says that “stroke is a common and potentially life-threatening occurrence for patients of all ages.”
Reality, though, is proof that many doctors continue to err in providing appropriate medical treatment to potential stroke victims. By not fully examining these victims’ condition, not requiring them to undergo tests or by wrongly interpreting results of medical tests, doctors can be held liable for any harm any victim unnecessarily undergoes. When a doctor’s mistakes increase a stroke victim’s suffering, a Houston personal injury lawyer may be able to help the hurt person recover compensation for their medical expenses.