Medical Mistakes should not go Unnoticed or Unpunished
Whenever walk-in patients make a consultation visit to a doctor, the questions they usually ask are centered only on what their illness is, what medicine they should take and how often they should take the prescribed medicine.
It is natural for patients to trust doctors due to their expertise when it comes to health. Too much trust, however, blinds patients from the reality that even the best doctors can commit mistakes. In fact, more than a quarter of a million people die every year due to medical mistakes, making these the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Wrong diagnosis is just one of the many different types of medical mistake or medical malpractice. Failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s real condition is due to failure in detecting the warning signs of a real and more severe health condition, like one that can lead to a stroke.
Stroke, also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), is caused by a pause in the flow of blood to any area of the brain. This can be caused by a blood clot in the blood vessels or in the Cholesterol plaque (these are the products of heart disease; these begin in artery walls and continue to grow over the years. This growth of cholesterol plaque slowly blocks the blood to flow in the arteries. If it suddenly ruptures, the sudden blood clot that may form can cause a heart attack or stroke). Before a major or large stroke, a patient usually suffers a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) first. TIA is what medical professionals identify as a warning stroke or mini stroke; it usually last for only about 20 minutes, as the flow of blood usually resumes afterwards.
A stroke is definitely preventable, but only if its symptoms are get detected early and the person given proper treatment. Failure to diagnose it and render proper treatment, however, can easily result to paralysis or patient’s death. In fact, according to the American Stroke Association, more than 500,000 individuals suffer a stroke every year. About 200,000 of those who suffer stroke end up disabled, while the many more others end up dead.
The symptoms of stroke are sometimes hard to determine due to their resemblance with other types of serious health conditions, like severe migraine attack or diabetic hypoglycemia. The presence of other warning signs, though, like unexplained severe headaches, dizziness, loss of coordination or balance, difficulty in understanding or speaking, difficulty in walking and in seeing either from one or both eyes, and weakness or numbness on one side of the body, may be interpreted as signs of stroke; but to be more certain, requiring the patient to undergo more tests may be called for. These symptoms, especially TIA, should never be taken lightly. On the contrary, patients displaying these symptoms should be given emergency care.
In the website of the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., it is said that doctors are charged with the very lives of those in their care and that even the smallest oversights or mistakes in the medical field can have devastating effects on unsuspecting patients. Though no doctor would intend to harm any patient, it is also important to send a strong message to the medical community that carelessness resulting to harmful mistakes will not go unnoticed or unpunished.