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If a member of your family died or suffers from a permanent disability such as paralysis or brain damage due to a stroke
Contact us for a Free Attorney Consultation at
if a doctor or medical staff
  • failed to consider the possiblity of a stroke when the patient complained of symptoms consistent with a stroke;
  • failed to order appropriate tests to determine whether the symptoms were due to an impending stroke; or
  • failed to recommend appropriate treatment options for a stroke
Please be sure to include your name and a telephone number where we can reach you.

What is a Stroke

A stroke is a condition which occurs when the supply of blood to a part of the brain becomes restricted. This results in the deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the brain which can lead to brain damage.

Facts & Figures
  • Strokes are a leading cause of deaths
  • Approximately 140,000 deaths will result from a stroke
  • Strokes are a major cause of paralysis and brain damage
  • Strokes affect both men and women

What Causes a Stroke

The most common causes depend on the type of stroke:

  • Ischemic Strokes account for nearly 90 percent of all strokes and involve the blockage or narrowing of arteries to the brain. The two types of ischemic strokes are:
    • Thrombotic Strokes result from a blood clot (thrombus) in one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain. This is often caused by atherossclerosis (the build up of plaque in the arteries) and
    • Embolic Strokes result when a clot or other form of debris from another organ becomes lodged in an artery supplying blood to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic Strokes involve the rupture or leaking of a blood vessel in the brain. The two types of ischemic strokes are:
    • Intracerebral Hemorrhages result when a blood vessel bursts spiling into the surrounding brain tissue. This is most often caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure and
    • Subarachnoid Hemorrhages result when the bleeding of an artery at or near the surface of the brain spills into the space between the brain and the skull. This is often caused by the rupture of an aneurysm.

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

There are various signs and symptoms that may indicate a patient may be suffering from a stroke. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Paralysis or numbness to one side of the face or body.
  • Severe headache.
  • Highly elevated blood pressure.
  • A sudden change in, or loss of, vision.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Difficulty speaking, finding words, or recognizing speech.
  • Sudden difficulty walking
  • Sudden lack of coordination or balance
  • lightheadedness or fainting
There are also several risk factors for having a stroke including but not limited to a personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transiant ischemic attack (a mini stroke); age; smoking; high cholesterol levels; high blood pressure; diabetes; overweight; cardiovascular disease; birth control and hormonal therapies that include estrogen; and certain drugs like cocaine.

Diagnosing a Stroke

Immediate diagnosis is crucial. Any delay in diagosis or treatment can result in the death of the patient.

Upon taking a history and performing a physical examination the doctor will check for:

  • elevated blood pressure,
  • an abnormality in your heart beat,
  • bruit over your cartoid (neck) arteries, and
  • clots in the blood vessels at the back of your eyes

Diagnostic Procedures

When a patient presents with symptoms that could be the result of a myocardial infarction, a physician should immediately order a number of diagnostic procedures to rule out the possibility of a stroke. diagnostic procedures include laboratory studies such as:

Blood tests to check:

  • how quickly your blood clots
  • your sugar levels
  • infection
  • other critical blood levels

In addition to laboratory studies, the physician may also order imaging studies that can help identify the presence of abnormalities or complications resulting from a stroke. Possible imaging studies include:

  • CT Angiogram
    Checks for evidence of an aneurysm, an arteriovenous malformation, hemorrhages, and narrowing of the arteries.
  • MRI
    Looks for evidence of damage to brain tissue by an ischemic stroke
  • Cartoid Ultrasound
    Checks for clotting or narrowing of the cartoid arteries.
  • Arteriography
    Checks the arteries
  • Echocardiography
    Examines the heart for clots that can travel to the brain

Treatment for a Stroke

Once a patient has been diagnosed as suffering from a stroke the patient should receive immediate treatment. Emergency treatment depends on the type of stroke and may include:

  • For an Ischemic Stroke
    • Clot busting medication such as aspirin or TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) administered via an intravenous injection or through a catheter directly to the brain
    • Mechanical clot removal via a catheter
    • Cartoid endarterectomy to remove plaque from the cartoid arteries
    • Angioplasty and stents to open up clogged or narrowed arteries
  • For a Hemorrhagic Stroke
    • Emergency measures to control and reduce bleeding and reduce pressure to the brain
    • Surgery
    • Medication to reduce blood pressure
    • Surgical intervention such as aneurysm clipping, aneurysm embolization, or the removal of an arteriovenous malformation
If emergency treatment is effective the patient will eventually receive recovery and rehabilitation treatment targeted to the effects of the stroke. Treatment may be managed by a team of doctors and specialists that can include a neurologist, a physiatrist, a speech therapost, an occupational therapist, a psychologist or psychiatrist, and a social worker, among others. Recovery and rehabilitation treatment modalities might include but are not limited to speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

Prognosis for Patients after a Stroke

Although the prognosis for patients after a stroke depends on a number of factors, the timing and nature of intervention, the success of the intervention, and the post strplr management are critical. A delay in diagnosis and treatment, as well as any inappropriate or counterindicated treatment, can result in the death of the patient or a permanent disability such as paralysis or brain damage .

Legal Options

If someone you love has died or suffers from a permanent disability such as paralysis or brain damage because a doctor or other health care professional failed to diagnose an impending stroke and failed to provide appropriate treatment, you should immediately contact a competent attorney. The attorney will work with you to determine whteher there may a medical malpractice claim resulting from the failure to diagnose or provide appropriate treatment.

Call or email for a Free Attorney Consultation

Law Office of Joseph A. Hernandez, P.C.
Phone: (781) 461-9400
Toll Free: (866) 461-9400
Please be sure to include your name and a telephone number where we can reach you.

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