Medical Misdiagnosis Cases

Signs You’ve Had a Stroke

strokeThe unexpected, sudden death of actor Luke Perry has brought to light the severity of strokes and  the warning signs that everyone should be aware of. According to the American Heart Association, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds on average. In 2016, stroke accounted for about 1 of every 19 deaths in the U.S.

An area of personal injury the Gautreaux Law firm has a great deal of experience with is medical misdiagnosis cases.  In general, there are two ways that a stroke can be misdiagnosed:

  1. A patient goes to the hospital and the doctor fails to diagnose him/her as having had a stroke or diagnoses them with a medical problem other than a stroke.
  2. The doctor suspects the patient has had a stroke but fails to treat it properly or in a timely manner. Depending on the type of stroke, and how long it has been since the onset of symptoms, the patient may be able to be treated with a drug known as Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or TPA, which has been shown to have the  ability in may cases to drastically reduce the likelihood of permanent damage from, or the deadly outcome of, a stroke in patients suffering from an ischemic or thrombotic stroke. TPA should generally be used as quickly as possible after symptom onset and can only be used in patients suffering from a stroke caused by a blood clot interrupting blood flow to the brain. This drug generally cannot be used in patients suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke or head trauma.

Types of Stroke

Ischemic Stroke –A blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
– When a weakened blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding on the brain

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
– These are more commonly known as mini strokes. It’s a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. It’s a warning sign that a full-blown stroke may occur.


If you suspect someone of having a stroke, remember the acronym FAST to quickly determine if the signs and symptoms the person is exhibiting is indicative of a stroke. Knowing what to look for and acting quickly is the greatest way to ensure a more positive outcome:

F—–Facial Drooping – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face/mouth droop
A—–Arms – Have them raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—– Speech -Ask them to talk. Is their speech slurred?
T—– Time – Call 911 Immediately if you observe any of these symptoms. The quicker you get help the more likely to prevent
permanent damage or death.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms to look for which could indicate a type of stroke include the following:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face or arms
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking
  • Sudden trouble seeing in both eyes
  • Sudden loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Tests to determine if you might have a stroke

There is no specific test that can determine if you are going to have a stroke, but there are health screening tests that can help determine if you may be at a higher risk of having one.  Physicians will typically check for certain standard risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). If you have any of these risk factors, then you may be at a higher risk of having a stroke. As such, you should take steps right away to reduce your likelihood by eating a healthy diet and exercising more. Depending on the severity of your high cholesterol and blood pressure, and on your family history and lifestyle, your doctor may choose to put you on medication to help lower your risks. You should discuss this information with your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.

The resulting effects of a stroke can range from mild to severe. The most common types of disability after a stroke, which may be temporary or long-term, include some of the following:

  • Changes in speech resulting in communication problems
  • Inability to grip things
  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Problems with balance or coordination
  • Incontinence
  • Pain, numbness or burning and tingling sensations
  • Swallowing problems

If you suspect you or a loved one has had a stroke that was misdiagnosed or not treated properly then you may be able to recover damages as a result. Contact our Georgia firm today for a free consultation to determine if you have a case. Call us at 478-238-9758 or use our online contact form. As always, we charge no attorneys’ fees unless we obtain a recovery for you.

For more information about strokes, visit the National Stroke Association at