A stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of your brain is cut off, killing the brain cells. The damage that this causes can affect how your body works in the future. A stroke is a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential as the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to occur.
The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST:
F – face – has the patient’s face or eye dropped on one side, are they able to smile?
A – arms – can the patient lift their arms, are they experiencing unexplained weakness in one of both limbs?
S – speech – is the patient’s speech slurred or garbled, or are they unable to talk at all? Can they understand simple instructions?
T – time – if a patient is showing any of the above symptoms, you must call 999 immediately for assistance
Once you have arrived at hospital, anyone suspected of suffering a stroke should undergo a brain scan within 1 hour of their arrival. A swallow test should also be performed, to check their ability to swallow, as problems with swallowing can cause food or drink to become lodged in their windpipe and lungs, leading to further complications such as aspiration, chest infections and pneumonia. Further tests on their heart and blood vessels should be done later, to ascertain the cause of the stroke.
Treatment for a stroke depends on the type of stroke, which part of the brain has been affected and what has caused the stroke in the first place. Usually treatment is a combination of medications and sometimes surgery. Patients are also likely to require rehabilitation following a stroke.
There are a number of areas where a clinical negligence claim may arise in the treatment of a suspected stroke, such as:
- Substandard treatment causing the initial stroke (such as a failure to prescribe anticoagulation medication)
- Failure or delay by the paramedics to respond to a patient with a suspect stroke within a reasonable time
- Failure to detect and act upon the recognised symptoms of a stroke
- Failure or delay in diagnosis of a stroke
- Failure to commence appropriate treatment (such as anticoagulation medication) within a reasonable time
- Failure or delay in arranging rehabilitation therapies (such as physiotherapy or speech and language therapy)
If you, or a loved one has suffered as a result of substandard treatment of a stroke, please contact Graystons Solicitors on 0151 645 0055 to see if we can help you.