Stroke Is a Common Misdiagnosis in Emergency Rooms

Some conditions have a greater chance of misdiagnosis than others. Symptoms may mimic more than one condition, or the patient could have a rare disease.

A new study published online in the journal Diagnosis reports that stroke is a common condition missed in the emergency room. Research shows that misdiagnosis affects tens of thousands of patients in the ER every year. ER doctors wrongly diagnose the early signs, like headache and dizziness.

Reasons for these wrong diagnoses offered by the article were that women and people younger than the age of 45 don’t generally suffer strokes. These two groups are thus at higher risk than those with a standard stroke profile: middle-aged or older and overweight. But ERs are complicated places, and any number of factors could spark a misdiagnosis, for example, alarm fatigue.

The results of this study revealed that close to 13 percent of the patients hospitalized for stroke visited the ER just 30 days prior, exhibiting warning signs. More than half of that number suffered a stroke within 48 hours of the misdiagnosis.

ER doctors misdiagnosed these patients with things like migraines and ear infections. Some didn’t receive any diagnosis. The risk of misdiagnosis was close to seven times higher for younger adults, and women had a 33 percent higher risk of a missed stroke diagnosis. Researchers estimate misdiagnosed strokes could range between 15,000 and 165,000 each year.

When a Misdiagnosis Causes Serious or Fatal Injuries

First, negligence must be established, and the victim must show that the misdiagnosis resulted in serious or fatal injuries. This requires extensive paperwork. To learn whether your situation is eligible for a medical malpractice claim, contact an attorney who handles malpractice cases. Gacovino, Lake & Associates has a proven track record of success in medical malpractice claims. Fill out our contact form and we’ll begin the process.

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