Wrong Diagnosis Resulting in Stroke

Other than what the diagnosis is, patients’ inquiry to doctors usually center only on the frequency of medication intake or what nutritional diet to have (which many have no intention of following, anyway) to avoid a more serious illness. Bottom line actually is: once under the care of a doctor, patients believe they already are in good hands!

Many are not aware, probably, but medical mistakes can be committed even by the best doctors and nurses in the US. In fact, due to medical malpractice, not less than a quarter of a million people die annually, making it the third leading cause of death in America.

One example of medical malpractice is wrong diagnosis, which is failure to detect the warning signs of a more severe health condition, such as one leading to a stroke. A stroke can definitely be prevented, but only if its symptoms are diagnosed early and the patient given proper medication and advise, on how to effectively avoid it through proper diet, exercise and good rest. Failure to diagnose and treat it, however, may result to paralysis or even death.

Records from the American Stroke Association show that, every year, about half a million Americans suffer from a stroke; about 200,000 attacks have disabling effects, while about one third is fatal. The difficulty in determining the symptoms of stroke is due to its resemblance with other health issues, like diabetic hypoglycemia or severe migraine attack. However, with the presence of other warning signs, such as severe headache with unknown cause, dizziness, difficulty walking, loss of coordination or balance, difficulty understanding or speaking, difficulty seeing either from one or both eyes and weakness or numbness on one side of the body, it would not hurt if the patient will be required to undergo more tests if these will help determine his/her real condition.

The similarity of symptoms between illnesses cannot be an excuse for doctors to misdiagnose a certain illness, as this may lead to life-threatening situations for the patient. Given all the modern technologies around them which they can use to perform their work more effectively, doctors, according to Crowe & Mulvey, ought to be able to determine patients’ real illness, especially if the warning signs are manifestations of a stroke.

A stroke, also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), results from the cessation of blood flow to any area of the brain. This may be caused by a blood clot in the blood vessels or by a clot from Cholesterol plaque. A major or large stroke is usually preceded and evidenced by a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which medical professionals also term as warning or mini stroke. TIA symptoms typically last only for 20 minutes, since the flow of blood resumes afterwards. Tia symptoms, however, should not be taken lightly, and patients showing such symptoms should be given emergency care.

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