Failure to diagnose stroke can have serious consequences

Pittsburgh emergency rooms see thousands of patients each year with stroke complications. Most of these patients are older when they suffer from a stroke, but people who are under the age of 50 may also have a stroke.

When younger people present themselves at the ER with stroke symptoms, they may frequently be misdiagnosed. When these people are seen by doctors, the doctor may not first think that they are suffering from a stroke. The symptoms include feeling numb in places like the face or arm or over the side of one’s body, feeling confused, struggling to speak, feeling dizzy, headaches and dizziness. Emergency room doctors have misdiagnosed these patients with alcohol intoxication, seizure, inner ear disorders and other ailments that were incorrect.

When a stroke patient does not receive proper treatment immediately, he or she can suffer from severe consequences. The failure to diagnose a stroke promptly leads to delayed treatment. Patients who receive a delayed treatment often have issues with continued paralysis, speech problems, and other permanent disabilities. It is critical that stroke patients receive immediate treatment so that they don’t suffer from permanent disabilities.

If a negligent physician fails to promptly diagnose a stroke there can be serious consequences. Families who have been affected by an undiagnosed stroke may wish to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the facts surrounding the incident and help the family recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source:, “Young adult stroke patients may be misdiagnosed in ER,” American Heart Association, accessed Feb. 20, 2009