Delayed diagnosis of pediatric strokes common and dangerous

Trips to the emergency department in Pennsylvania or anywhere else are frightening. It can be disorienting if a patient suddenly becomes ill and does not know why. Patients rightfully expect that doctors will run a battery of test to properly identify and treat the source of the problem.

One 15-year-old went to the emergency department when he began vomiting with a terrible headache. The doctors were treating the teen as though he had a migraine, but his mother, who is a nurse, kept insisting that more needed to be done. Eventually, the teen was transferred to another hospital where a simple brain scan revealed that the teen had suffered a pediatric stroke.

While we most typically think of strokes occurring in adults, pediatric strokes are actually a leading cause of death among children. Likely contributing to the fatality of such a happening is that there is often is significant delay in diagnosis with pediatric strokes. On average, it takes doctors 28 hours to properly identify the happening. Like the 15-year-old being treated for a migraine, these medical mistakes can seriously worsen a patient’s condition.

Once the 15-year-old received the correct diagnosis, doctors had to remove a piece of his skull to allow for swelling. A second stroke resulted in the teen losing his ability to speak or move his limbs. Thankfully and miraculously, after months of rehabilitation this teen is practically back to normal. His family is incredibly grateful, as this medical mistake could have cost this teen his life.

In instances where a delayed diagnosis of a stroke or any other illness or disease leads to the worsened condition or death of a patient, there could be recourse available in Pennsylvania. An experienced attorney can help victims and their families pursue compensation following terrible medical mistakes stemming from negligence.

Source: ABC News, “Pediatric Strokes Often Misdiagnosed, Treatment Delayed,” Susan Donaldson James, Feb. 11, 2013

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