Law Office of JoJene E. Mills, P.C.
520.529.3200 Toll Free 866.529.3201

ER doctors' assumptions result in brain damage for thousands

One of the most important ways for a doctor in Arizona to minimize the damage caused by a stroke is to diagnose it right away. However, when a woman, a person of color or someone under the age of 45 goes to the emergency room complaining of dizziness or a headache, many doctors fail to consider these as signs of a stroke, researchers from Johns Hopkins say.

Medical specialists gathered data from over 187,000 patient records in more than 1,000 hospitals. After being told they had issues such as migraine, or an inner ear infection, many of the patients returned home from the ER only to be hospitalized within 30 days for stroke. In fact, more than a quarter of them had a stroke within 48 hours of their ER discharge. Minorities were between 20 and 30 percent more likely to receive a misdiagnosis than white males over the age of 45, and women suffering from early stroke symptoms were 33 percent more likely to be sent home. 

This study and others have medical experts placing the number of misdiagnosed strokes that cause death or severe disability as high as 165,000 each year. Some believe the number could be higher, as health data is not always reported. Certain tests, such as an MRI and an evaluation of eye movements, could help doctors positively identify stroke, but assumptions about perceived stroke risks often lead them to forgo these tests.

The Mayo Clinic explains the reason that strokes are so dangerous: They cut off the oxygen supply to the brain. Without oxygen, brain damage occurs quickly as cells die. Sudden, severe headaches or loss of balance and dizziness are two of the primary signs of a stroke.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information