Stroke Medical Negligence Claims – What You Need to Know

According to the Irish Heart Foundation, one in 5 people will suffer from a stroke. While strokes are seen as a disease in older people, strokes can strike at any age. 

A stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability and the severity of the stroke will determine how much damage is done and a person’s chance of recovery.  A small percentage of strokes can occur as the result of mistreatment following a stroke affecting patient outcomes and quality of life. 

Sometimes, clinicians do not treat strokes correctly. If your stroke is misdiagnosed, you may have a strong case to make for a stroke medical negligence claim. Here are some examples where errors can lead to poor patient outcomes.

  • A failure to recognise and diagnose a stroke/strokes.
  • A delay in medical treatment for a stroke/strokes even after diagnosis.
  • A misinterpreted brain scan.
  • A failure to provide Thrombolytic therapy in time.

In addition, in the wider sphere of medical negligence, it’s possible for another medical condition to be mistreated such that it can cause a stroke in a patient. Typical instances can include:

  • A failure to warn patients of the risks of strokes associated with medical procedures.
  • A failure to manage a pre-existing medical condition contributing to a subsequent stroke, such as high blood pressure.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs due to a lack of blood supply to the brain and the brain's cells begin to die. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke while a transient ischemic attack is known as a mini stroke.

  • An ischemic stroke is the most common and happens when a clot, or buildup of cholesterol, blocks a major blood vessel in the brain.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke is caused when blood from a weakened vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.
  • TIA is similar to a stroke, however, the symptoms are temporary.

Factors that increase your risk of a stroke/strokes include irregular high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal heart rhythm, diabetes, heart disease, high red blood count, smoking and obesity. 

Signs and Symptoms of strokes can be devastating so, when identifying signs of a stroke/strokes it's important to think F.A.S.T.

F = Face dropping to one side

A = Arm weakness

S = Difficulty speaking

T = Time to call 999

Other stroke symptoms to be aware of include: numbness or weakness of the face, arms and legs and sudden confusion, dizziness or a sudden migraine with no known cause.

The effects of a stroke/strokes 

There are many physical effects which make a return to daily life, and work, impossible depending on the severity of the stroke. In Ireland, the Irish Heart Foundation reports an estimated 30,000 people living in the community with disabilities as a result of a stroke.

Common types of disability are one-sided muscle paralysis and visual and cognitive problems which make it difficult for sufferers to carry out normal activities such as reading, or writing. Other types are issues with balance and coordination (ataxia) as well as problems with speech, and understanding language (aphasia) while some sufferers will experience difficulty swallowing.

There is the emotional impact associated with a stroke which also contributes to poor quality of life. Some people can even experience a change in behaviour leading to a sufferer acting inappropriately, impulsively, or feeling depressed and depression can make rehabilitation a far more challenging process.

Recovery from a stroke/strokes 

Recovery can take years and leave long-term problems. Some stroke survivors will require ongoing support in the form of home help and as part of rehabilitation will require weekly sessions in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychotherapy to deal with post-stroke depression. 

A care worker may be required to help with daily tasks such as washing and dressing while the cost of adapting your home, such as building a ground floor bedroom and bathroom can be considerable.

Compensation for stroke misdiagnosis

A return to work could present a real challenge and this will depend on the severity of the stroke. Factors that affect stroke survivors and limit their ability to perform tasks include mental and physical fatigue as well as cognitive and physical impairments.

As a consequence, survivors of a stroke may face a significant reduction in hours to be able to return to employment. Fewer hours will result in a loss of earnings with some stroke survivors never making a return to work at all. A medical negligence claim will take into account the financial impact caused by this period of unemployment.  

Stroke is also the third leading cause of death in Ireland as stated in a previous article on our service pages. For those who have lost a loved one, a successful claim will help to reduce the financial loss incurred due to losing a dependent and will contribute to the future costs of taking care of you and your family.

What kind of compensation can I expect?

The time limit to make a negligence claim is normally two years from the time of the alleged incident and the compensation will vary from case to case. 

Damages due to you will be assessed under a figure for the following: General Damages for pain and suffering in the past and the future. In addition, you may also be entitled to Special Damages which can include costs incurred from loss of earnings and future loss of earnings, rehabilitation costs, house adaptation costs, and purchase costs of equipment including mobility cars and mobility scooters. These are some examples but are not limited to the type of special damage compensation to reimburse any out-of-pocket losses as a result of the negligent care you received which can be assessed as part of a claim.

Why choose us?

At Whelan Law, we have years of experience in handling stroke medical negligence claims and our legal team approach every case with discretion and compassion. We also have access to medical professionals in the field of stroke medical negligence to help us investigate your claim and get the answers you are seeking. 

If you feel you have suffered as a result of substandard medical care simply contact our office on +353 (0) 62 61110 to set up an appointment with our legal team to find out if you are entitled to make a claim.