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$6.3 Million – Stroke Misdiagnosis
Firm Partner Seth Wilson Media Interview (Sept. 2019)
Stroke Misdiagnosis & Failure to Treat on Time
Medical Malpractice & Stroke Patients in Philadelphia, Delaware & Montgomery Counties
In hospitals or emergency rooms in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties, one of the most critical medical mistakes involves the diagnosis and treatment of an ischemic stroke, when a blood clot blocks blood flow to a part of the brain. Primary care doctors or family doctors may also fail to diagnose stroke.
Oftentimes, stroke patients are treated and released from the hospital or a doctor’s office only to return in a worsened condition. If a stroke is misdiagnosed, the resulting failure to treat the stroke in a timely manner can cause disabling, permanent symptoms or death. Brain injuries are very common.
Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers accept cases throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Contact us now or call (610) 825-0500.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law – Stroke Misdiagnosis & Failure to Treat Timely
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability. Annually, about 800,000 people suffer strokes, of which roughly 18% are fatal. Stroke can result in life-altering, permanent disabilities including cognitive deficits, speech impairment, paralysis, etc. Timely treatment with tPA or endovascular therapy increases chances of recovery.
Stroke patients may be released from a hospital or emergency room due to misdiagnosis, and if the stroke is a large one, death may occur within days or even hours.
For example, a patient goes to a hospital in Philadelphia with multiple symptoms of stroke, but is diagnosed with migraines or vertigo and released. A day later, the patient becomes comatose due to significant brain swelling caused by the misdiagnosed stroke and dies a few hours later.
Stroke symptoms can be categorized into head/brain symptoms, facial symptoms and other symptoms.
- Head/brain symptoms: cognitive deficits, severe headache, dizziness, mental confusion, slow or slurred speech
- Facial symptoms: numbness, blurred or double vision, drooping
- Other symptoms: numbness or weakness of the extremities (arms, legs), vomiting, difficulty with walking or coordination, paralysis
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Misdiagnosis of Strokes in Pennsylvania Hospitals
Most Pennsylvania residents including those in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties who are suffering from any combination of the above symptoms often seek treatment at a hospital or emergency room. In addition, according to a 2017 study in Neurology magazine, about 10% of strokes are misdiagnosed.
Stroke Misdiagnosis Case Synopsis: Our medical malpractice lawyers obtained a $6+ million trial verdict for a 76 year old woman when her Montgomery County, PA family doctor failed to diagnose an impending stroke. As a result, the patient suffered a disabling stroke that could have been prevented had the doctor recognized the signs and symptoms of stroke.
Correct stroke diagnosis tends to happen when the patient shows dysarthria (slurred or slowed speech) and/or hemiparesis (weakness or paralysis on one side of the body).
Misdiagnosis of a stroke tends to happen when any of the following symptoms are present:
- mental disorientation or confusion, and
- any symptom improves or resolves.
In addition, misdiagnosis of stroke also occurs more commonly in younger adults, or those who are under age 55.
Stroke & Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania Hospitals
Stroke misdiagnosis in a Pennsylvania hospital happens for many reasons. Medical malpractice in stroke cases usually involves misdiagnosis of a stroke or untimely treatment of a stroke.
Here are common reasons stroke may be misdiagnosed or treated too late:
- hospital understaffing which causes gaps in the system,
- failure to conduct a proper physical exam or get the patient’s complete medical history,
- failure to properly monitor a patient,
- failure to order diagnostic tests, and
- failure to follow hospital procedures for diagnosis or treatment of stroke.
Failure to Treat a Stroke – Time is of the Essence
Stroke patients who receive timely treatment have the best chances of recovery. Delayed treatment results in worse outcomes including permanent damage or death. The blood thinner tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) should be administered to eligible stroke patients within 4.5 hours of the onset of the stroke.
Once a patient is diagnosed with a stroke, hospitals or emergency rooms should administer tPA in under 60 minutes. Unfortunately, this 60 minute window is only achieved for less than 30% of all U.S. stroke patients. Older, minority and female patients tend to experience disparities in timely treatment.
For some stroke patients, endovascular treatment is an option. This treatment involves removing or liquefying the blood clot with use of catheters inserted into arteries. Endovascular treatment isn’t recommended for all stroke patients, but may be recommended for patients who score 6 or greater on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, have already received tPA within 4.5 hours of onset of stroke, etc.
Pennsylvania Hospital Malpractice Law – Compensation for Stroke Misdiagnosis and Failure to Treat
Compensation may be available for stroke patients in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties who suffered worse outcomes due to either 1. the hospital’s failure to diagnose stroke, or 2. the hospital’s failure to treat the stroke in a timely manner with tPA or endovascular treatment. Claims for financial compensation in a hospital stroke malpractice case include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
This is also true in cases where a stroke patient died due to stroke misdiagnosis or lack of treatment. Surviving family members may be able to file wrongful death actions against hospitals for medical malpractice.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law Firm – Stroke Misdiagnosis Cases in Philadelphia, Delaware & Montgomery Counties
Our medical malpractice law firm has handled multiple hospital malpractice cases involving stroke malpractice in Pennsylvania. We’ve successfully represented patients against hospitals in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties. Call for a FREE consultation at (610) 825-0500.
Page last reviewed and updated: February 23, 2021
Related Medical Malpractice Articles
- Phila. Jury Awards $7.7M for Failure to Detect Blood Clot (May 26, 2016)
- Cancer Misdiagnosis – Biopsies & Abnormal Test Results (November 21, 2019)
- Misdiagnosis in Hospitals and Emergency Rooms in Phila., Delaware & Montgomery Counties (March 23, 2020)
We Accept Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospitals in the Philadelphia Area
Cases Also Accepted Across Pennsylvania
Chestnut Hill Hospital
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Temple University Hospital
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland)
Delaware County Memorial Hospital (Drexel Hill, Upper Darby)
Springfield Hospital (Springfield)
Taylor Hospital (Ridley)
Abington Hospital (Abington, Lansdale)
Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr)
Einstein Medical (East Norriton, Elkins Park)
Holy Redeemer Hospital (Meadowbrook)
Lankenau Hospital (Wynnewood)
Suburban Community Hospital (Norristown)
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Phila., West Chester, East Norriton, Meadowbrook, Doylestown, Langhorne, Sellersville, etc.)
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
Shriner's Hospitals for Children
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