Attorneys Matt Sowell and Fadi Chakour, national leaders in stroke litigation, were guests on First Coast Connect as part of Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the United States. They talked about the lessons they learned from the stroke cases they’ve handled nationally and locally over the years, and shared tips with listeners on how to ensure they get the best treatment if they or a loved one has stroke symptoms.
Attorney Matt Sowell said that due to the advances in medicine and technology, stroke victims are more likely to survive the stroke than they would have not too long ago. However, the survivors are frequently left with significant disabilities requiring constant help and attention, which can financially and emotionally break their families.
They said while the vast majority of stroke care is appropriate, there is a small percentage of stroke patients that do not get appropriate care, which leads to devastating disabilities or death. Attorney Fadi Chakour, who is also a medical doctor, explained that sometimes health care providers fail to recognize even the classic signs of stroke. For example, he touched on a case in which a physician diagnosed a patient’s stroke symptoms (slurred speech, numbness on one side, etc.) as being drunk and asked the patient to go home and sleep it off. The next day that patient woke up paralyzed on one side of his body due to the stroke he sustained.
In an another example, he said an emergency room physician misdiagnosed a patient’s stroke symptoms as being under the influence of drugs and left her in the ER without treatment to also sleep it off. Hours later, her daughter found her covered with her own urine, paralyzed, and unable to speak. She had a massive stroke. Now that woman has permanent brain injuries and requires 24-hour care.
Attorney Sowell discussed the importance of seeking immediate medical attention when experiencing a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as warning stroke, which causes a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain. He urged people to immediately go to an emergency room even if they are feeling better after a “mini stroke” because if untreated, a stroke could happen, usually within 48 hours. He said not to go to a walk-in clinic or make a doctor’s appointment because it would be too late since time is brain when it comes to treating stroke.
Attorney Chakour explained that there are two types of stroke centers, primary and comprehensive. He said that in addition to the stroke treatments offered at primary stroke centers, comprehensive stroke centers offer additional advanced procedures to treat the stroke, such as endovascular intervention.
Their main message was to urge everyone to have a plan for stroke care in advance and seek immediate medical attention when stroke symptoms first appear. They also stressed the importance of having an advocate with the patient experiencing stroke symptoms because patients having a stroke often cannot advocate for themselves. That person can tell the medical personnel the patient’s medical history, medications and when they noticed the symptoms first appeared.
At Terrell • Hogan, we represent the injured as they seek justice. If you or a loved one suffered a stroke injury that may have been caused by medical malpractice, contact attorney Matt Sowell at (904) 722-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org