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By Matt Sowell and Fadi Chakour

Stroke leaves man wheelchair bound

When a healthcare provider fails to identify and treat stroke symptoms in a timely manner, the results can be devastating.

It is common for a person having a stroke to have slurred speech, babble, or have trouble finding their words. They may also have balance issues and stumble while walking. When a patient presents with these symptoms, doctors and nurses commit medical malpractice when they misdiagnose the signs of a stroke as a possible cause.

The Signs of a Stroke

Once again we have seen the unfortunate situation where stroke symptoms were mistaken for signs of intoxication. Our client went to an urgent care clinic complaining of tingling and weakness in his left hand and slurred speech. He specifically wrote on the intake form that he was having “stroke-like” symptoms. However, the doctor thought he was drunk and told him to stop drinking. Stroke symptoms frequently mimic the signs of being drunk: disorientation, loss of balance and slurred speech.

That night, our client suffered a massive stroke. Because of the stroke, his left arm and leg are paralyzed. The divorced father of one is now permanently disabled. He needs a wheelchair to get around and lives at an assisted living facility as a consequence.

Preventable

It could have all been prevented if the doctor had listened to his patient and had him immediately transferred to a stroke center. The best practice for people with stroke symptoms is to call 911, because they will be taken to a certified stroke center. Walk in clinics are not equipped to treat the sudden onset of stroke.

We reached a confidential settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the clinic. It will help provide some of the care our client will need for the rest of his life.

As medical malpractice attorneys who specialize in stroke cases, we frequently represent stroke victims who did not receive appropriate stroke care because their symptoms were initially misdiagnosed.

Fadi ChakourMatt Sowell 
and Fadi Chakour are national leaders in stroke litigation. Matt is the founding chairman of the Stroke Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice, the nation’s largest organization of trial attorneys. They can be reached at (904) 722-2228 or Sowell@terrellhogan.com and Chakour@terrellhogan.com.