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Stroke misdiagnosis more common in some demographics

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Residents of Illinois and Indiana expect quality care when they see their doctors. If a person is experiencing unusual symptoms, they want answers, but in some cases, the doctor might misdiagnose them. Strokes are often misdiagnosed in patients of certain demographics.

Understanding the signs of stroke

A stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked. Blood clots cause brain cells to die when they are deprived of oxygen. While there are different types of strokes, ischemic is the most common, caused by a blockage in an artery. However, regardless of type, if a person experiences a stroke, they can experience certain signs and symptoms.

A sudden, severe headache is a warning sign of a stroke. It’s possible to suddenly experience blurred vision, dizziness and loss of coordination or balance. Difficulty speaking and understanding what is being said often occur with stroke, and the person can become confused.

Numbness or weakness on one side of the body or in the face, arm or leg is a common sign of stroke as well. This often comes on without warning or explanation.

Stroke misdiagnosis and groups more likely affected

According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, doctors are more likely to misdiagnose stroke in certain people. The early signs of stroke are often disregarded as being something different in women and people of color. The study explained that nearly 13% of people were misdiagnosed after complaining of symptoms and later ended up in the hospital with a stroke.

It was found that women were 33% more likely and people of color were 20% to 30% more likely to face this serious problem. Individuals younger than 45 were also found to be misdiagnosed more often when they suffered strokes. Doctors commonly misdiagnose these groups with migraine or inner ear infections, and this could lead to a medical malpractice claim.

Misdiagnoses can be deadly when a person has had a stroke. A prompt second opinion might be life-saving.