By: Kyle Colona. Clot busting drugs must be given as quickly as possible to limit brain damage and prevent death.
Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) dissolves blood clots. It goes by the brand name, Alteplase and the generic name, Activase. Tissue plasminogen activator can be used to treat some people who are having a stroke caused by a blood clot. If t-PA is not provided quickly a stroke victim is at risk of permanent disability and/or death. And failure to diagnose a stroke can lead to a medical malpractice case.
How t-PA Works
The WebMD website correctly notes that t-PA is most effective when it is provided quickly after stroke symptoms present. And quickly means there is a small window of opportunity: within 3-4.5 hours of the first sign of an Ischemic Stroke. This is a stroke triggered by a blood clot in the veins in the chest, the upper body, the neck, and in cases of atrial fibrillation, the heart.
t-PA works to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain. This can either stop a stroke or mitigate the damage to the brain when a stroke occurs. In other words, the drug can prevent disability after a stroke.
However, we at StrokeLaw.com strongly believe that t-PA should be given even if you or your loved one was outside the typical time limits. “A client of mine, a kid, was refused t-PA for 18 hours because he was considered outside the time limit. There should be no time limit. Let me say this again: there should be no time limit for t-PA. Our client, when finally given the t-PA lived, completed college” says Cory Rosenbaum a New York medical malpractice lawyer and one of the founders of StrokeLaw.com.
Attorney Cory Rosenbaum stated: “medical malpractice stroke cases arise because doctors and hospitals fail to give the clot busters fast enough. If you or your loved one didn’t get t-PA quickly, you may have a case for their injuries being worse or for their death if they didn’t survive.”
Fast treatment can be a life saver
People suffering from a stroke, as well as those around them, need to be alert. Because the open window to apply the drug is short lived, medical providers in an emergency situation need as much information as possible. Particularly, EMT’s, nurses and doctors need to know what the symptoms were and when they began.
The first alerts are usually face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty. And these can be accompanied by sudden numbness of the face, arm or legs, especially on one side of the body, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination, and sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Why this matters
In short, diagnosis and treatment with t-PA can prevent disability and save lives. More importantly, the American Stroke Association notes that tissue plasminogen activator is the only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes.
When a stroke victim quickly arrives at a hospital and the doctor fails to provide t-PA, a stroke medical malpractice case may be successful.
t-PA for Stroke/WebMD
Stroke Treatments – The American Stroke Association