A stroke is a serious and debilitating injury. Strokes happen when an artery or vein becomes clogged by a clot or when a blood vessel tears and spills blood throughout the brain. The lack of oxygen and nutrients causes the brain tissue to die. A stroke has easily recognizable symptoms, including the following.
- Inability to speak or comprehend speech
- Inability to see
- Problems walking
- Severe headache
- Sudden numbness or loss of strength on one side of the body
There are two kinds of strokes. An ischemic stroke is when a blood vessel that supplies the brain becomes blocked. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds inside or around the brain. Serious injury can occur if a stroke is undetected. You might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim if your doctor fails to diagnose the symptoms of a stroke. Usually, you need to prove that the stroke could have been averted if it had been identified. Alternatively, you could prove that the stroke was occurring but was not diagnosed by the doctor. Failure to timely diagnose and treat a stroke can have devastating consequences including the need for physical and cognitive therapy, and often results in a permanent injury. At Rosenbaum & Associates we understand the financial and emotional hardship you and your family will endure and can help make sure the doctors and hospitals are held accountable for their actions.
Treatment for a stroke varies based on the patient’s medical condition. Diabetes, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and other conditions can interfere with the treatment. To treat an ischemic stroke while it is occurring, the doctor will try to dissolve the clot that has blocked the blood vessel. If the treatment is delayed, the injury will worsen.
There are a few types of tests that can be performed to check for a stroke.
A physical exam by your physician is the most basic test. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, the medications you’re taking and if you’ve had a recent head injury. The doctor will also want to know if there’s a history of strokes or heart disease in your family. Your blood pressure will be checked, and your eyes will be examined for signs of clotting.
Blood tests tell your doctor if your blood chemicals are not balanced and if your blood sugar level is incorrect. A blood test can also determine how fast your blood clots.
You can also have a special computerized tomography that consists of having dye injected into your vein. An x-ray provides a three-dimensional picture of the blood vessels of your neck and brain. If you have an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformations, your doctor will discover them.
A magnetic resonance image will show if an ischemic stroke damaged any brain cells. A magnetic resonance angiography also uses a dye to examine the arteries in your brain and neck.
A carotid ultrasound uses a long wand to transmit high-frequency sound waves through your neck to reveal clotting or narrowing of the carotid arteries.
During an arteriography, a narrow catheter is placed in an artery through an incision in the groin. The doctor will inject a dye to see the condition of your arteries.
Speed is critical when treating an ischemic stroke because the flow of blood must be restored to the brain. Clot-dissolving drugs must be administered within four or five hours. Your odds for recovery improve if you’re treated rapidly. Fast treatment also reduces the severity of the stroke’s complications. If medications do not work, the clot can be removed surgically.
Hemorrhagic strokes are treated by controlling the bleeding and lowering the pressure in the brain. A clip is usually placed on the artery beneath the rupture to stop the bleeding. A coil can also be inserted in the blood vessel so a clot will form to stop the bleeding.