Strokes And Misdiagnosis

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Early detection of a stroke can be vital in reducing the amount of overall harm a stroke causes a person. Thus, missed stroke diagnoses by doctors can have substantial negative impacts on patients.

A recent study indicates that missed stroke diagnoses may be worrisomely common. The study reviewed medical data regarding over 187,000 individuals who had been admitted to a medical facility for a stroke.

In their review of this data, the study’s researchers looked at how many of these people had made a visit to an emergency department in the 30-day period preceding their stroke admission. The researchers found that around 12.7 percent of the individuals had made such a visit during this period and had been given a non-cerebrovascular diagnosis during the visit. The study defined these incidents as potential missed strokes. In around one-tenth of the potential missed strokes, the diagnosis that the individual was given in their emergency department visit they made in the 30-day period preceding the stroke admission was one of dizziness or headache. The study defined these incidents as probable missed stokes.

The study found that women, minorities and individuals under 45 were among the groups that were more likely to experience a probable missed stroke.

It is important to note that this study did not track confirmed misses of catchable stroke diagnoses, but rather simply incidents in which a stroke diagnosis may have been missed. Even with keeping this in mind though, the study’s results are troubling. One would hope that missed stroke diagnoses would be very rare occurrences, but the results indicate that this may not be the case.

There are many different things that could cause a missed stroke diagnosis. One is negligent conduct by a doctor when diagnosing a patient. Legal remedies may be available to individuals who have had a stroke diagnosis missed due to negligence by a doctor and have suffered harm from the missed diagnosis.

Source: MedPage Today, “Stroke Rounds: Early Signs of Stroke Missed in Many Cases,” Todd Neale, April 7, 2014

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