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Delay in Diagnosis of Stroke

We have seen an increase in the number of enquiries for BPC Law to investigate cases where it is alleged that a hospital failed in its duty of care to treat early symptoms of a stroke.

It would appear to be uncontroversial that the earlier a stroke is recognised and treated the better the likely outcome.

In cases involving stroke, it is therefore imperative to look for the early signs and to carry out proper investigations.  We are of course Lawyers and not doctors and have no expertise in the area of medical diagnosis and treatment.  From the many cases, we have investigated however it would seem that some of the early investigations include a full neurological examination and investigations by way of CT scan or MRI.

New South Wales Health has in place protocols setting out a pathway for the management of patients with suspected stroke.  In the more rare cases of paediatric stroke, there are also clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and acute management of childhood stroke.

A delay in the diagnosis may mean that the diagnosis is made outside the time frame to implement the most beneficial treatment.  This can lead to the stroke having far more significant consequences in the long term.

One of the complexities of litigation involving a stroke is that it is often difficult to distinguish those consequences that would have occurred in any event even if there had been quicker diagnosis and treatment.  In these cases, we rely heavily on the medical community to unpick what disabilities are caused by any delay.

There will of course be cases where the signs of a stroke were not definitive or where earlier intervention would have made no difference.  Potential litigants must have the services of a personal injury lawyers with expertise in medical negligence.  Knowing when you do not have a case is just as important as knowing when you do.