Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. With the number of cardiovascular diseases consuming our country, medical providers have an obligation to watch for and monitor warning signs. High blood pressure, smoking, poor nutrition, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes are all warning signs, and there are many drugs and treatments now available to prevent or slow the disease’s progression.
A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain. The lack of oxygen due to this interruption causes brain tissue to die, which causes that part of the brain to be unable to function. Strokes can be caused by either occlusion (plugging) of a blood vessel in the brain (ischemic stroke), or by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). A stroke can result in partial paralysis, paralysis, memory loss, and death.
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Time Lost is Brain Lost
A stroke is a medical emergency. Neurologists use the phrase, “time lost is brain lost” to emphasize how critical fast diagnosis and response are to saving brain cells.
No matter the type of stroke, once it occurs, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs at a rapid rate. When brain cells die during a stroke, the sensory and motor abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost and are (almost) never fully recovered. These abilities include speech, movement, memory, and other cognitive functions.
How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the large distribution vessels in the brain and how much brain tissue is affected by the lack of oxygen delivery.
What are the Symptoms of a Stroke Doctors Should Know?
The symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the extent of damage to the brain and which part of the brain is affected, but in general the symptoms include:
Numbness in the face or extremities
Slurring or loss of speech
Rapid heartbeat or hypertension
Loss of balance
Paralysis on one side
In addition, a patient may experience a warning sign called a transient ischemic attack (or TIA) before an actual stroke. A TIA, or mini-strokes is caused by blood supply to the brain being cut off for a short time, without causing any permanent damage. It is the health care professional’s job to recognize the symptoms of a TIA and develop a treatment plan to try to prevent a full-scale stroke.
Aneurysms – An aneurysm is the bulging of a blood vessel in the brain. Although they may burst without warning, malpractice may occur if a doctor does not heed the warning sign of a blinding headache in an at-risk patient, or does not perform corrective surgery properly.
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What Are the Different Claims That Can Be Made For A Stroke?
Given these considerations, litigating a case involving a stroke can be difficult because of the different elements that come into play. There can be a claim based on:
Mismanagement of treatment
How do I Find the Right Stroke Malpractice Lawyer?
Here are five steps to find the right stroke malpractice lawyer:
1. Ask a trusted adviser
If you have a trusted legal adviser, start there, otherwise, consider asking friends and family. The best lawyers are usually known by reputation in their community. Let them know you are looking for a medical malpractice-only attorney, and preferably one who has handled stroke malpractice claims. Why? Because you do not want a lawyer who handles “everything,” because they will not be the best at any of them.
Also let them know you need the lawyer to be from or licensed in the state where the stroke malpractice occurred. Why? That’s likely to be where a lawsuit would have to be filed.
Be sure to ask them for 2-3 suggestions.
You can also check your state’s or city’s plaintiff trial lawyer association. For example, in Ohio we’re members of the Ohio Association for Justice, and the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys. Both are plaintiff-lawyer-only organizations.
2. Do Background Research on the Lawyers Online.
Getting the names is the start of the process. Now do a little looking online.
Their website will tell you if they really specialize in medical malpractice or not. If you see the lawyer does “general litigation,” or handles things outside of personal injury (like criminal defense or estate planning), they are NOT likely to be top medical malpractice attorneys.
You can also look the lawyers up on avvo.com to see if they have been “disciplined”–gotten in ethical trouble as a lawyer–and what their clients say about them.
3. Set up a Meeting to Interview the Lawyer and Ask Tough Questions.
If there is a serious disability or death from a doctor or hospital failing to diagnose or treat a stroke, you can bet lawyers will be interested in the case, and in selling you on their services. You’ve already weeded out the jack-of-all-trades lawyers, and are only looking at the medical malpractice-only lawyers.
Time to ask the tough questions.
Set up an in-person appointment and ask them:
What types of cases do you handle other than medical cases?
What do you know about the different types of strokes? Symptoms and treatment?
Have you investigated and filed lawsuits on behalf of people hurt or killed by stroke misdiagnosis? How many? Can you give me the case name and court?
How would this process work?
Most lawyers will struggle with these questions–even medical malpractice-only lawyers–so you’ll know if you have an expert or not on the topic. You’ll also get a sense for whether you like and trust the lawyer. That’s critical, too.
4. Ask for Recommendations.
One way to gauge how confident a lawyer is in their ability and success is to ask them for names of other top medical malpractice or stroke malpractice lawyers in the community. Most places will have at least a handful of great medical malpractice lawyers.
If a lawyer is not confident, or if they are desperate for your case, they will say something like, “I’m the best.” (By the way, at least in Ohio, lawyers are not allowed to call themselves the best Ohio medical malpractice lawyer, or best Ohio stroke malpractice lawyer–so that should tell you something about their ethics if they do!)
If the lawyer is confident, and is not desperate, they’ll give you names. Why? Because their job is to help you, and that includes helping you find a great Ohio stroke lawyer if you are not hiring them.
(If they are not the right lawyer for you, ask too: you need some new names!)
Why do yo not want a desperate lawyer? Because the fastest way for a lawyer to make money is to settle your case on the cheap: they do less work, spend less time, and get money now. That’s not something talented lawyers do, because they understand the only way to maximize the return to a client is to work the case up the right way.
That takes time.
5. Ask them about trial.
Lawyers who are afraid of trial cannot scare a hospital or insurance company’s lawyer. All they can do is settle on the cheap.
So how do you know if a lawyer is afraid of trial? Because when you ask them about it, they tell you it won’t ever happen.
When a client asks me about trial, I tell them by the time we’ve been working together for a while, they’ll want to go to trial. Because they’ll know that being ready–even eager–to go to trial is the best way to put the fear into the other side.
Does that mean we try cases even when it would be better for the client to settle? Never. It just means we have all the leverage in the case, because we’re not afraid.
If you believe a healthcare provider failed to diagnose a stroke, or took too long to diagnose or provide treatment for a stroke, the impact was likely devastating. Whether there is partial disability, full disability, or even brain death, the person and their family are forever changed.
You can also call us at 216-777-8856 if you prefer.
You will likely not speak to us immediately, but will schedule a phone or in-person meeting. Why? Because we’re busy working on the important cases other families have entrusted to us. Just like we would not constantly take phone calls when we’re entrusted to work on your case.
You should also gather all the records and papers you have from the medical providers, go back and look for dates, names, and events that happened, and otherwise prepare to discuss the case. We’ll have a meeting and, if it seems like a case we’d be a good fit for, we’ll move into an investigation phase.
Once we’ve investigated, we’ll candidly tell you what we think about what happened, whether the medical provider is to blame, and what we think about the strength of the case.
Fair warning: we only take on clients whose cases we believe have very strong merits. We’re not lazy—the cases are still very complex, difficult, and expensive—but the risk to your family of being drawn into a difficult process with little chance of a positive outcome is not something we do.
Which means when we do take on a case, our reputation tells the other side this is a serious case we believe in.
If for whatever reason we do not take on the case, and we think there is some merit to the case, we’ll try and help you find a lawyer who might take it on.
New research presented at the 2017 International Stroke Conference taking place in Houston, Texas confirms childhood strokes may be linked to headaches, much more often than in adults. As reported by MedPage Today: For children 3 to 18 years of age, 46% of acute arterial ischemic strokes presented with headache, Lori L. Billinghurst, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues reported here at the International Stroke Conference. While the rate was 6% in those younger than 3 years, limited communication capability may have limited reporting, Billinghurst noted at a press conference. She contrasted the high rate of headache in the older children with the rate of no more than 25% among adults in a prior prospective hospital-based registry. That's almost two timesthe rate of headaches reported for children at or near the time of an ischemic stroke. Given this new and critical finding, doctors need to pay attention. Pediatricians and in particular emergency room doctors need to understand the difference in importance of headaches for children. Otherwise, they may not recognize the emergency. That will lead to more pediatric stroke malpractice for failure to diagnose. "This study shows that headache at the time of stroke onset is more common in children than adults — in about 50% of cases," Dr Saba told Medscape Medical News. "Stroke is much less common in children but still does occur; when it does occur, it is more likely to be attributed to an abnormality of the blood vessels." How should doctors react? As reported in EMS World, this requires doctors to take action: “Stroke should be considered as a possible diagnosis in any child with a headache and additional symptoms of weakness or numbness (in the face, arm or leg) or changes in walking, talking or vision,” said Lori L. Billinghurst, M.D., ... Read More
The American Stroke Foundation published an infographic to help people understand, identify, and react to strokes in children: Available for download in English and Spanish. Learn more about pediatric stroke malpractice at our Ohio Stroke Lawyer site ... Read More
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Between 200,000 and 400,000 patients die as a result of medical errors each year. Approximately 10 to 20 times that figure are seriously harmed but do not die from medical errors. Less than 2% of all doctors have been responsible for half of all medical malpractice claims over the past 25 years.
What is the Legal Definition of Medical Malpractice?
The key to a medical malpractice claim is that the doctor or other healthcare provider breached the standard of care. This means that the medical professional did something that was unreasonable under the circumstances. Put another way, the medical professional chose to do something that other doctors would not have done or did not do something that other doctors would have done in the same circumstances. In order for there to be a medical malpractice claim, the medical professional’s unreasonable conduct must have caused an injury.
Is There A Difference Between Malpractice and Negligence?
No. When an average person acts unreasonably it is called negligence. For example, when a motorist runs a red light, it is called negligence. When a professional - like a doctor - is negligent, it is called malpractice. But, in essence, they are the same thing.
Does A Bad Outcome Automatically Mean That There Has Been Malpractice?
No. There are certain risks that are inherent to medical procedures. Under some conditions, a physician can be reasonable in his medical care and the patient can still experience a bad outcome.
Is There A Time Limit To Bring A Medical Malpractice Claim?
Every state has a limitation on the time period when ... Read More
Do you have questions about a possible Stroke Malpractice case? Contact us now using this confidential form. We'll help you get answers.
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Our No Fear Guarantee
You’ve probably seen the lawyer ads: “No Fee Guarantee!” “No Fees if We Don’t Win!”
Guess what? That’s true for just about any plaintiff’s lawyer. It’s what a “contingency fee” means. It doesn’t mean they’ll work hard. Or get a good result for you. It doesn’t mean much at all.
What we promise you is a NO FEAR guarantee.
What does that mean? For 99% of our clients, a medical injury caused by negligence is new. The medical malpractice lawsuit process is new. Depositions, discovery, trial . . . everything is new.
New can be scary. Especially when it involves having to testify under oath.
We’ve developed systems that let you address and move past the fear. Through education and information about the process. Role-playing and other preparation techniques. We empower you to be fearless. Because this process is hard enough.
Find the Right Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers for You
Nursing homes are regulated by federal and state regulations that most personal injury lawyers know nothing about.
If you're looking to take on a nursing home, you need a lawyer who knows those rules.
We exclusively handle medical claims, with a focus on nursing home abuse and neglect. We've tried these cases and obtained millions in damages at trial. 100% our cases involve the failure to provide appropriate hospital, medical, and nursing care to members of the community.
How We’re Paid
We advance the costs of the investigation and lawsuit. We only get paid from money we collect in a settlement of verdict: there’s never a bill to you.
By taking on all the risk, you can be sure we’re only going to take on cases we believe in fully.
What Can We Do to Improve Nursing Home Conduct?
Nursing Homes are corporations: they speak the language of money. Corporations, even non-profit corporations, are not real people; they do not have hearts, minds, or souls.
In our experience, holding a medical corporation responsible and accountable for carelessly injuring patients through a money verdict at trial, or a settlement motivated by their fear of trial, is the best way to make sure there is change.
A well-fought lawsuit can help prevent other people from being injured in the same way.
What Damages are Available?
Money damages available in a nursing home lawsuit can involve economic costs (medical bills, etc.), emotional harms like pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and, if the injuries cause death, the mental anguish and loss of family members for wrongful death.
Many states allow for punitive damages when a medical corporation consciously disregards a patient’s rights and safety with a great probability of causing substantial harm. They are awarded in exceptional cases.
We’ve proven punitive damages at trial, including a $3,000,000 verdict for punitive damages against one of the largest medical companies in America.
Punitive damages are intended to punish, deter the defendant from doing the same thing in the future, and reform the nursing home industry.
What Else Can I do Besides Contacting You?
Once you contact us, you'll get a list of next steps, as well as emails explaining how the process works. So contact us now, or call us at 216-777-8856.
I Have More Questions...
If you're like most of our clients, you have a lot more questions.
The best way to get answers is to contact us now, then ask us. But don't worry! Contacting us costs you nothing, and you are not locked into hiring us.
There's no risk in contacting us. And you'll receive more information on how these cases work, including free access to our library of important information on nursing home and wrongful death cases.