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Stroke misdiagnosis solicitors

A stroke occurs when the brain cannot get oxygen. There are two main causes:

  1. A blood clot, the most common cause, where a clot cuts off the blood supply to the brain.
  2. A bleed, where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts.  

If the brain is starved of oxygen it is likely to cause injury to the brain cells.

Treatment

Acting FAST is the key in successfully treating strokes and minimising brain injuries. If a stroke is not diagnosed and the patient referred for immediate review the window for effective treatment will be lost.  The type of treatment is dependent on whether a blood clot or bleed has caused the stroke. 

Blood Clot

If there is a blood clot, thrombolysis may be given to try and thin the blood in an attempt to dissolve the blood clot and restore oxygenated blood flow to the brain.  This type of treatment is only usually given within 4 hours of the first onset of stroke symptoms.  Some newer research suggests that this 4 hour window can be extended by a matter of hours with successful results but, on the whole, this type of treatment is most effective if given as soon after the onset of stroke symptoms as possible.

Other more advanced treatment options may be available; including CT guided catheter delivery of clot busting medication (direct to the location of the clot) and mechanical thrombectomy (where the clot is broken down by tiny surgical tools and removed through a blood vessel) to try and dissolve or remove the clot as quickly and efficiently as possible after the onset of symptoms.

Other medication may be given to prevent future blood clots, such as aspirin and anticoagulants.    

Bleed

Thrombolysis medication is not given if the cause of the stroke is a bleed because thrombolysis is likely to make the bleed worse and the brain injury more severe.  For this reason, a CT brain scan is usually carried out to determine the cause of the stroke before any type of treatment is started.

Treatment for a bleed in the brain may include surgery (craniotomy) and/or medication to reduce further bleeding.  Medication may also be prescribed to prevent future bleeds.

Clinical Negligence Claims

Delay in recognising, diagnosing and treating a patient with stroke symptoms may lead to a clinical negligence claim.  Stroke symptoms (such as slurred speech, a drooped face and limited strength in the arms and hands) are not always immediately recognised and medical review is not always obtained as quickly as it should be.  In these circumstances, the limited timeframe for treatment may be missed, particularly when the cause of the stroke is a blood clot and thrombolysis treatment, if given promptly after a CT scan, can sometimes minimise the extent of brain injury (by dispersing the blood clot) and reduce the risk of further clots.

If you think you, or someone you know, may have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment and would like to speak with a member of the Minton Morrill clinical negligence team, please call on 0113 245 8549 or complete our contact form

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