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Younger stroke patients may be misdiagnosed

Young North Carolina patients who have suffered a stroke in the past or who are at risk for suffering a stroke should know that a 2009 study revealed that emergency room staff may misdiagnose patients. Because it is extremely important that those suffering from a stroke are properly diagnosed as soon as possible, a misdiagnosis could keep the patient from receiving the emergency care that they need.

For the study, researchers reviewed the cases of 57 patients who were between the ages of 16 and 50. Eight of the patients, four of whom were males and four of whom were females, were diagnosed with migraine, vertigo and alcohol intoxication. However, the symptoms that they had been suffering from when they arrived at the emergency room included numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, blurred vision and loss of muscle coordination, among other classic stroke symptoms.

By being misdiagnosed, the patients did not receive stroke treatment in a timely manner. In fact, only an intravenous dose of tissue plasminogen activator, a drug that bursts clots, is approved by the FDA for early treatment of a stroke. While the drug does reduce any permanent disabilities that may be caused by the stroke, the drug can only be administered within three hours of the onset of the symptoms. After approximately 48 hours, there is no major interventions that doctors can use to reduce any potential disabilities.

If a person suffers a stroke and doctors fail to properly diagnose their condition, it is likely that the person will suffer injuries that could potentially be permanent. A patient may have the grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against both the hospital and the hospital staff. Usually, the patient may seek compensation for any future medical bills or the cost of future care if they suffer a permanent disability.

Source: Science Daily , "Young Adult Stroke Patients May Be Misdiagnosed In ER", November 25, 2014

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