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Emergency Room Doctors More Likely to Miss Stroke in Women, Minorities, and Younger Patients

Posted on in Errors in Diagnosis

Chicago medical malpractice lawyersWhen it comes to strokes, research indicates that the outcome of a patient can improve by as much as 80 percent if they are given prompt and early treatment. Unfortunately, for anywhere between 15,000 and 165,000 Americans per year, such treatment is not received because they are misdiagnosed - often with a condition that is benign in nature. Women, minorities, and younger patients may be at an especially high risk for this potentially deadly medical mistake.

Risk of Misdiagnosis Higher for Certain Stroke Sufferers

Conducted by Johns Hopkins University, one study found that emergency room doctors are as much as 30 percent more likely to overlook the symptoms of a stroke in women and minorities. That risk jumps even higher for patients under the age of 45 who, though less likely to suffer from stroke, are far from immune (about 34 percent of strokes occur in those under age 65).

In fact, out of 200,000 stroke patients that fell into one of the “at-risk” groups, 13 percent had visited the emergency room within the past 30 days, complaining of dizziness and/or a headache. Many had been sent away with a diagnosis of inner ear infection, or migraine – if they had received a diagnosis at all. About 25 percent of those patients returned to the emergency room, suffering from an obvious stroke, in as little as 48 hours after being misdiagnosed.

Potential Complications of a Missed Stroke

As the leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in America, stroke carries serious risks, which increase significantly if the signs and symptoms are completely missed. This includes symptoms of dizziness and headaches, which are considered uncommon and are often excused - symptoms that are also more likely to occur in women that are suffering from a stroke.

Even those who are experiencing a “mini stroke” (transient ischemic attacks) have poorer outcomes if their symptoms are missed. After a transient ischemic attack, patients are 10 to 15 percent more likely to suffer from a major stroke within three months of the minor attack. This risk can be managed, however, if the condition is recognized early on and treated accordingly.

Misdiagnosed Stroke? Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help

While compensation cannot give back what was taken from you, it can help cover the cost of medical bills, final expenses, and/or any loss of employment. Further, you may be owed compensation for pain and suffering that you may have endured because of your injury. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you in your pursuit for justice.

Dedicated to helping you receive the most compensation possible for your losses, our Chicago, Illinois medical malpractice lawyers will protect your rights in your medical malpractice case. We have more than 75 years of combined experience and a proven track record of success. Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. will fight for you. Call 312-553-4900 and schedule your free consultation with us today.

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/04/05/299200133/emergency-docs-more-likely-to-miss-signs-of-stroke-in-the-young

http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/types_of_stroke.htm 

http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm

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