I had a stroke while I was in the hospital but it I wasn’t treated in time and now I have a serious injury.
Do I have a stroke malpractice case?
According to a recent study presented by researchers from the University of Toronto, the scenario presented below, while seemingly inconceivable, is far more common than you think, far more common than it should be, AND, and can indeed be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
You are lying in a hospital bed after being admitted for complications due to kidney stones (or any other ailment other than stroke or stroke symptoms). Your spouse comes to visit, but soon after greeting you she becomes alarmed because she notices that one side of your face looks droopy. You then mention that your arms and extremities are starting to feel numb and you’ve been having trouble speaking clearly. These are the early signs of stroke (F.A.S.T.) and you’re experiencing them while you are in the hospital.
Now the clock is ticking because when it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost. You are in dire need of immediate medical attention or you risk having a permanent injury. But, despite the fact you’re having a stroke while already a patient in the hospital, treatment for your stroke is delayed far too long. In fact, statistics now show that a person who suffers a stroke at their home or workplace is more likely to receive immediate emergency care than someone who is already hospitalized for another ailment.
If your reaction to the scenario described above was similar to mine you are probably thinking:
Absurd. Can’t possibly be true. Unimaginable!
Absurd, unimaginable? Perhaps, but those are the facts.
The study cited above, conducted by a research team at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the University Health Network at the University of Toronto, concluded that stroke outcomes can be much worse when the stroke occurs in a hospital. Two groups were studied over a period of nine years – those who suffered a stroke in the hospital while being treated for another condition and those who had a stroke in the outside community. The results of the study were truly dumbfounding considering the circumstances.
- People suffering a stroke while already in the hospital waited significantly longer from the time stroke symptoms were recognized to the time they had brain scans or neuroimaging.
- They were also less likely to receive clot-busting drugs such as t-PA, and those that did receive this critical treatment waited far longer than stroke victims whose stroke occurred in the outside community.
There are many reasons why this ironic situation is a reality, the first of which applies to stroke across the board – the signs and symptoms of stroke are often misdiagnosed or missed completely. Another, cited by the authors of this study, is that while stroke protocol kicks into high gear in the hospital emergency room, no such protocol exists, or isn’t nearly as regimented, on the floors and wards of the hospital.
So, do I have a case for malpractice if I had a stroke in the hospital and my treatment was delayed?
The answer is probably yes, though all cases are different and need to be evaluated based on the specific details of your situation. However, one common thread that applies to all cases is this:
- If you believe that you have suffered injuries due to the misdiagnosis of stroke or delayed treatment of stroke, whether your stroke occurred while you were in the hospital or at home or anywhere else, you should consult with an attorney; one who is experienced in stroke medical malpractice law. He or she can evaluate the merits of your case and advise you of your legal rights to do so under the law.
If the University of Toronto study on in-hospital stroke outcomes is any indication, there are likely many thousands of stroke victims in the U.S. who did not receive timely, critical treatment for their stroke, despite already being hospitalized at the time. All of these people may have grounds for a stroke medical malpractice lawsuit against their doctors and hospital.
The information posted here on StrokeLaw.com is not to be interpreted as providing legal services or as proposing any form of legal advice. Nor should it be interpreted as offering any form of medical advice. All content is strictly intended for informational purposes only.