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St. Louis Malpractice: Strokes

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St. Louis Malpractice: Misdiagnosed or Improperly Treated Stroke


A stroke is a sudden death of a great number of brain cells due to oxygen starvation. About 700,000 strokes occur in the United States each year, resulting in over 13,000 deaths. When a stroke happens, every moment matters, because a stroke is a progressive event that causes irreversible damage. In many cases, a three to six-hour clock starts running the moment a stroke occurs, because Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) must be administered during this time to prevent the most devastating consequences of a stroke. If you believe that your stroke was misdiagnosed or improperly treated, a St. Louis medical malpractice attorney is a necessity rather than a luxury.


Stroke Symptoms


Unfortunately, many stroke symptoms also resemble symptoms of other conditions, particularly trans-ischemic attacks. Typical symptoms include:

  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in your face, arm or leg

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Confusion

  • Severe headache

  • Dizziness and loss of balance

  • Trouble walking

  • Changes in vision

  • Drooling

Causes of Misdiagnosis/Improper Treatment


The misdiagnosis or improper treatment of a stroke can often be traced to a single oversight, although in some cases a series of oversights occurred. The most common reasons for misdiagnosis of a stroke include:

  • A youthful patient (since strokes are more common among older people)

  • Misreading or misinterpretation of test results

  • Delay in diagnostic testing

  • Long waits in emergency rooms

  • Failure to take a thorough medical history

  • Confusion with another medical condition, such as a transient ischemic attack (TIA)



The effects of a misdiagnosed or improperly treated stroke can be devastating and irreversible. They may result in a permanent inability to speak, walk, or perform basic activities. Paralysis of one side of the body is common as are seizures, loss of memory, physical pain, behavioral problems and further strokes. Death occurs in close to 10 percent of cases.  


Personal Injury Lawsuits vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuits


If malpractice occurred and you seek damages, you will almost certainly have to file a lawsuit. This is true even if you seek a private settlement, because malpractice insurers are generally reluctant to offer generous settlement terms without the pressure of a pending lawsuit to motivate them. The injured patient can file a personal injury lawsuit even if he is disabled as a result of the stroke, because a legal representative can act on his behalf. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date that the malpractice occurred.


If the patient dies as a result of the malpractice, close relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Missouri personal injury law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the spouse, parents, children or grandchildren of the deceased. The lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of death.




Damages (verdicts and settlements) for stroke-related medical malpractice lawsuits are often high because of the devastating consequences of a stroke. Six-figure settlements are common, and seven-figure settlements are not unheard of. Under Missouri personal injury law, you can recover for medical expenses, lost work time and psychological damages such as pain and suffering, among other losses. If the doctor’s conduct was particularly shocking, you might also be able to recover punitive damages.

If you believe that your stroke or the stroke of a loved one was caused by medical malpractice, or that the consequences of a stroke were exacerbated by medical malpractice, you need a St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer who understands misdiagnosed or improperly treated strokes, who knows how to win a medical malpractice trial, and who can bargain successfully with streetwise insurance industry lawyers. Call Alvin Wolff today at 314-241-2500 for your free initial consultation.

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