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Failure to Diagnose Stroke

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving Syracuse Area Residents

Strokes are medical emergencies that occur when the blood traveling to the brain is reduced or interrupted, such that brain tissue is deprived of nutrients and oxygen. As a consequence of this deprivation, brain cells die. It is crucial that stroke be treated promptly, as early action can minimize whether the brain is damaged as well as any complications of the stroke. If you were harmed or a loved one died due to failure to diagnose stroke, you may have a viable claim for medical negligence. A seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney can assess the facts of your potential claim.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

Strokes happen for different reasons. Most of them are ischemic strokes, which occur if the arteries are blocked, resulting in severely reduced blood flow. Some are hemorrhagic strokes caused by the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel. There are also thrombotic strokes, embolic strokes, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and transient ischemic attacks. Certain risk factors make it more likely a person will suffer stroke. These include physical inactivity, heavy drinking, obesity, illicit drug use, obstructive sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, being over 55, being male, and use of birth control pills or hormonal therapies.

There are many different signs and symptoms of stroke to which you should be alert, especially since there is a risk of permanent tissue damage even when the symptoms don't last for long. These include trouble speaking or understanding, paralysis or numbness, headaches, trouble walking, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, dizziness, and loss of coordination. If you notice these signs or symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you should seek immediate medical attention. There are more options available at this point in time for treating stroke and reducing its long term effects than there were in the past, but usually all of these options require that stroke be diagnosed and treated within hours. A doctor who fails to diagnose stroke when presented with signs and symptoms of it can cause a patient serious brain damage that could have been avoided.

Failure to Diagnose Stroke

A failure to timely diagnose stroke can result in temporary or permanent disabilities such as paralysis, difficulty talking, memory loss, difficulty swallowing, emotional trouble, pain, and changes in self-care or behavior. However, not all failures to diagnose stroke can be considered medical malpractice for which you can recover damages. To establish that a failure to diagnose stroke was medical malpractice, you need to establish: (1) you had a doctor-patient relationship that gave rise to the defendant owing you a professional standard of care, (2) breach in the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. If the failure to diagnose stroke is not a contributing cause of the harm — if you would have suffered the harm no matter whether or not a health care provider diagnosed it in a timely fashion — you will not be able to recover damages. You need to retain an expert to testify as to the professional standard of care, breach, and causation. An experienced medical negligence lawyer can help you identify an appropriate expert.


If you or a loved one were injured as a result of failure to diagnose stroke, it may be possible to recover compensatory damages from the responsible doctor or hospital. Compensatory damages can include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses might include medical bills, income loss, out-of-pocket costs, and therapy.

For example, around 1/3 of people who suffer a stroke experience problems with communication afterwards. Problems can include aphasia, which includes difficulties speaking, listening, understanding, reading, and writing. If a stroke that was not diagnosed leaves you unable to speak, you may need speech therapy for the loss of communication skills. Speech therapy can get expensive, and it's important that those responsible for that loss be held accountable for it.

Noneconomic losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. It can be very frustrating and painful, for example, not to be able to speak with your loved ones.

Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse

The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent patients and their families harmed by a failure to diagnose stroke in and around Syracuse. We also represent clients suing health care providers in Rochester, Cooperstown, Lyons, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Utica, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Oneida, Delhi, Herkimer, Norwich, Ithaca, Binghamton, Auburn and Elmira. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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