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Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK and while those most at risk are 65 years or older, a quarter of recorded strokes affect people under 65 and children are also susceptible in rare cases.
In a stroke, oxygenated blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted or cut off. If this happens, brain cells begin to die, leading to brain damage and even death. When the blood supply is temporarily cut off, this is known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or a ‘mini-stroke’ which is often a warning sign of an oncoming stroke.
There are two main types of stroke: ischaemic, where the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blood clot (a thrombosis or embolism); or haemorrhagic, where a weakened blood vessel ruptures (cerebral or subarachnoid haemorrhage), causing brain damage.
The injuries caused by a stroke can be devastating and long-lasting. A long period of rehabilitation may be required to achieve a degree of independence. In other cases recovery may not be possible. Not only is this upsetting for the person who has suffered the stroke, but can also put a strain on close friends and family.
Their anguish can only be worsened when the stroke and its aftermath are due to the misdiagnosis of a trusted medical professional, which can lead to a delay in receiving urgent treatment and an irreversible, brain injury.
A medical negligence claim may be possible in certain cases and while it will never undo the damage done, it may at least secure a more stable future for the stroke sufferer and their family.
How do I make a claim about a stroke
If I have a case about a stroke
Establishing whether you have a case for making a stroke claim involves exactly the same investigation as any other claim for clinical negligence. Access Legal’s expert lawyers need to show that there was a breach of the duty of care owed to you by the responsible healthcare staff in failing to provide the appropriate care to you.
The onus will be on you with the support of an experienced lawyer at Access Legal to prove that 'on the balance of probability' (i.e. greater than 50% likelihood) those failures were responsible for the injuries and actual physical harm you suffered.
Deciding if you have a case will also depend on the nature and severity of your injury, to what extent you recover and what the long term effect on your health and well-being may be. These are complex, lengthy and demanding cases in which the major concern will be rehabilitation and continuing medical care to aid your recovery and provide whatever support you and your family may need.
There are time limits within which you can claim so whatever your circumstances you should contact Access Legal as soon as is practicable. We can then give you free initial advice about whether a claim is possible and establish what additional treatments you may require to help you deal with the future, whatever your prognosis.
More about stroke claims
Because a stroke often strikes suddenly and unexpectedly, it can be a frightening experience for the person suffering it and their family. The main symptoms of stroke have been well publicised, using the mnemonic FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.
The victim’s face may drop on one side, they may be unable to lift one or both arms, their speech may be slurred or garbled and if they show any of these symptoms, an ambulance should be called immediately. Treatment depends on the type of stroke suffered and which part of the brain was affected.
For those suffering from an ischaemic stroke, clot-busting medications may be used. It is vital that the doctor correctly diagnoses the type of stroke suffered since using this drug would be dangerous for patients suffering a hemorrhagic stroke.
The diagnosis of a stroke may be delayed or missed altogether because the symptoms could be attributed to other conditions such as a migraine or a simple headache. Any delay in diagnosis or failure to conduct an MRI scan would contravene National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and would be considered negligent.
Following the initial treatment, the process of rehabilitation begins. Getting the appropriate care in place and arranging rehabilitation to allow a stroke victim to regain some of their previous capabilities is an extremely important part of any stroke claim
'You need to have a legal team who are caring, who you absolutely trust and who will tell you the truth. Certainly from our point of view Denise Stephens from Access Legal has been absolutely amazing.'
Access Legal is the private client arm of Shoosmiths, a national law firm with offices throughout the UK. Our best in class lawyers work with individuals and their families to achieve the best result & solve their practical problems.Why Access Legal