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Failure to diagnose a stroke: Why does it happen?

A stroke can be fatal, but prompt action can often save your life. This is why it’s so important to get the right diagnosis, and why people need to know what signs to look for themselves.

For instance, former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi famously survived two strokes, going on to climb mountains and play professional football. However, in his book about the incident, he stressed the importance of recognizing the symptoms and getting help as soon as possible. The longer diagnosis and treatment are delayed, the greater the chance is of death or permanent disability.

But what if you go to the hospital, and the doctor doesn’t think you’re having a stroke? These “failure to diagnose” issues happen to people, and they can be fatal. Why would a doctor make such an error?

They likely thought the symptoms pointed to something else

This type of mistake usually happens when the doctor makes a misdiagnosis. It’s not that they think nothing is wrong. They just don’t realize how serious it is.

For instance, strokes are sometimes confused with migraines. However, if a person with a migraine is sent home and told to get rest and drink water while taking mild painkillers, they could pass away at home if they’re actually having a stroke. By the time that it’s clear that this is no mere migraine, it’s too late to do anything.

What rights do you have?

If you’ve lost a loved one or suffered a serious brain injury due to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a stroke, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

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