Failure To Diagnose Stroke

A cerebrovascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke, occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted because of a blockage (ischemic stroke) or leakage (hemorrhagic stroke).  In the United States, nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year.  Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability and the number two cause of death.

Generally, there are four reasons for an ischemic stroke, which account for 87% of all CVAs: (1) thrombosis, (2) embolism, (3) systemic hypoperfusion, and (4) venous thrombosis.  When there is ischemia, the blood supply to the brain decreases or stops.  After 60 to 90 seconds, this leads to dysfunction of the brain in the affected area.  Ischemic strokes are classified by the extent of the dysfunction, including total anterior circulation infarct (TACI), partial anterior circulation infarct (PACI), lacunar infarct (LACI), and posterior circulation infarct (POCI).  Hemorrhagic strokes typically occur as a result of weakened blood vessels and head trauma. 

Contrary to popular belief, most strokes are not accompanied by a headache.  Generally, headaches are associated only with subarachnoid hemorrhaging, central venous thrombosis and intracerebral hemorrhaging.  Rather, most strokes are accompanied by:
  • sudden-onset face weakness;
  • arm dysfunction; and
  • abnormal speech or inability to speak.
These symptoms many present themselves in temporary fashion days, weeks, or months before a major stroke.  As more than one-third of people who suffer a stroke first suffer a "mini-stroke," known as transient ischemic attack (TIA), it is critical for patients and their doctors to be alert, and to know the risk factors for a stroke, which include:
  • high blood pressure (35-50% of stroke risk)
  • atrial fibrillation;
  • high blood cholesterol;
  • diabetes;
  • smoking;
  • heavy alcohol consumption;
  • drug use;
  • lack of physical activity;
  • obesity; and
  • poor diet.
A stroke is a medical emergency.  Therefore, you should go to the emergency room immediately if you believe that you are having a stroke.  Most emergency rooms, and virtually all "stroke centers," are equipped with imaging equipment such as CT scanners and MRI machines that can be used to identify brain dysfunction.  Also, emergency room physicians should be available to perform a physical examination, as well as a thorough neurological examination, in order to determine whether appropriate therapy should be administered, such as tissue plasmingoen activator (tPA) to dissolve a clot (within 3 hours).  Other therapy includes: mechanical thrombectomy to remove a clot, angioplasty and stenting, anticoagulation and brain surgery.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types of stroke cases.  If you, your child or a loved one have been injured due to stroke, you, your child and/or your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, special education, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. 

To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice attorney, contact us now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at