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A Definition Of Stroke Malpractice

Dec 15

Claims of medical misconduct in stroke therapy most commonly include delays in diagnosis or the use of tPA, a clot-busting drug (tissue plasminogen activator). Clots in the brain can only be dissolved by injecting tPA, but there is a very little window of time to do so before permanent cell damage occurs.

The duration of use that is advised for tPA varies depending on a number of well-considered factors. Since the clock starts ticking from the onset of symptoms, it is essential to collect this information from the patient or the patient's relatives.

Early evaluations of tPA's effectiveness found that it was only helpful around 30% of the time. More recent studies have revealed much higher effectiveness.

In contrast to the failure to provide tPA, the failure to offer heparin or warfarin for a stroke is frequently not a good foundation for a medical negligence lawsuit. Neither strokes nor TIAs have benefited greatly from the use of these medications (TIAs). However, warfarin is prescribed for emboli that originate in the heart. There may also be malpractice liability if the patient has a stroke after the doctor forgot to begin Warfarin after the patient stopped taking it for another reason (like dental surgery).


Seeing the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke in a patient who is younger than the "typical" stroke patient might be difficult for medical personnel because young individuals seldom get strokes. All patients, young and old alike, but especially otherwise healthy young people, are at risk of suffering serious disability or even death if treatment delays are prolonged unnecessarily.



Vertebral artery dissections (VADs) are a leading cause of stroke in otherwise healthy young people, however they can occur at any age. VAD can be caused by the slightest neck strain and usually manifests without any pain. While stroke might be a possible outcome of VAD use, it does not occur in every case.

A VAD occurs when the inner lining of the vertebral artery in the neck, which supplies blood to the brain, ruptures in a flap-like form. Blood pools at the site of the tear and clots. A stroke can occur if a piece of the clot breaks off and travels up an artery, where it becomes lodged and blocks blood supply to an area of the brain. When blood supply to parts of the brain is cut off, brain cells die from lack of oxygen. Ischemia describes the changes that take place in the brain when oxygen is cut off.

As a rule, the following actions are what lead to VADs:

  • Laughing, sneezing, coughing, working out at the gym, tubing, or waterskiing, as well as any other activity that causes you to jerk your neck might be considered a kind of neck trauma.




There is a narrow window of opportunity for effective treatment of a stroke, therefore being aware of the symptoms can be crucial.

Stroke warning indicators that you should be aware of include:

  • You suddenly feel weak, heavy, or numb on one or both sides of your body. Such as, abruptly losing the ability to move an arm or limb, suddenly losing the ability to talk, or suddenly losing sight in one or both eyes.
  • There is a sudden blurring of vision, a slurring of speech, or a sagging of the face; there is an abrupt loss of balance; and there is an unexpectedly severe headache.



Having a CT scan is one of the first things that is done when a patient comes to the emergency room with symptoms of a possible stroke. CT scanning can detect blood outside of the brain's arteries. There are two types of strokes, and this is crucial because one type is caused by bleeding and the other by a clot (called ischemic strokes). Most instances of stroke may be traced back to blood clots. Patients may be eligible for tPA if other criteria are met, including the absence of bleeding on CT scan. In the event of bleeding or a hemorrhagic stroke, the patient is not a candidate for tPA treatment.



Clot-busting tPA is the first-line treatment for ischemic stroke when given within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. In some cases, the drug can be given to the patient as late as 4.5 hours after the onset of the stroke. The benefits of the medicine are overshadowed by the risk of a fatal hemorrhage after 4.5 hours. Typically, the "window" for therapy is between three and four and a half hours. In some stroke clinics, tPA might be given even 12 hours after the onset of the stroke, depending on the kind of stroke.

A quicker administration of tPA is preferable. In other words, if tPA is provided 90 minutes after the onset of symptoms, the patient will have a greater response than if it is administered 2 hours later. This is why prompt medical attention is essential for a stroke victim.

Clot-related strokes can be treated with a variety of drugs besides tPA. In rare cases, a specialist (often an interventional radiologist) may use a specialized instrument to physically remove the clot from the patient's artery. This operation is known as a mechanical thrombectomy. Depending on the location of the clot, the severity of the stroke, and the health of the patient, mechanical thrombectomy has been demonstrated to be helpful in restoring blood flow up to 8, 12, and even 24 hours following the onset of stroke symptoms.

Stroke victims who have hemorrhaging may need surgery to relieve intracranial pressure. There are neurosurgeons available at certain hospitals but not all, therefore it may be necessary to transfer.

Malpractice claims can be made if tPA isn't administered or the patient isn't transferred to a better institution (such a Certified Stroke Center) in time to get treatment.

Contact a medical malpractice attorney specializing in stroke cases if you or a loved one suffered a stroke and you think it might have been avoided.