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Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorneys > Blog > Diagnosis Error > Challenges With Proving Stroke Misdiagnosis Under Florida Malpractice Laws

Challenges With Proving Stroke Misdiagnosis Under Florida Malpractice Laws


Florida medical malpractice cases are among the most complex personal injury claims for many reasons, including the highly technical subject matter and statutory legal requirements. One of the most complicated and difficult to prove forms of negligence by health care providers is stroke misdiagnosis. When analyzing the specific issue of diagnostic errors for 246 stroke lawsuits, American Heart Association researchers found that 56 percent of all claims resulted in $0 payout to the patient alleging malpractice. When these cases went to trial, only 17 percent resulted in a verdict for the claimant.

These disturbing statistics may have you wondering why a med mal claim for stroke misdiagnosis is so challenging. Though every case is different, there are some common factors. With help from a Tampa diagnosis errors attorney, you can overcome the following legal hurdles to get the compensation you deserve. 

Confusion Over Stroke Symptoms 

There are two types of stroke, and ischemic is the most common at 87 percent of all strokes. This event is caused when an artery feeding blood to the brain becomes blocked. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing blood to leak into brain tissue. With both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, the symptoms may include:

  • Disorientation and confusion;
  • Problems speaking or slurred speech;
  • Severe headache;
  • Difficulties with balance; and,
  • Many others. 

These symptoms can be indicative of many medical conditions, but there can also be some overlap involved with distinguishing between the two forms of stroke. Inconsistencies make it difficult to prove that the physician departed from the standard of care.

Complications from Risk Factors 

It can also be difficult to prove that a health care provider’s actions were negligent when the patient’s risk factors make a stroke more likely. For instance:

  • With risk factors linked to medical history or genetics, a person might be more prone to stroke regardless of intervention by physicians.
  • If a patient’s risk factors are the result of lifestyle choices, a doctor could claim that unhealthy habits caused stroke. Examples include smoking, alcohol or substance abuse, and failing to control diabetes. 

Multiple Sources of Diagnosis Mistakes 

The focus of a med mal claim is what a physician with the same training and skill would have done under the same circumstances. In general, a stroke is identified through the process of diagnosis by exclusion to eliminate other medical conditions. A differential diagnosis may be necessary to distinguish between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Physical exams, lab screenings, and imaging tests are necessary for these strategies. With so many sources of error, it may be tough to point to just one. 

Our Florida Diagnosis Errors Lawyers Tackle Legal Challenges

Solid evidence is critical in any med mal case, but proving a stroke misdiagnosis can be difficult for these and many other reasons. Our team at Greco & Wozniak P.A. will assist with gathering the details, as well as other tasks necessary to ensure you recover fair damages for your losses. Please contact us today to set up a free case review. You can reach our Tampa, FL offices by calling 813.223.7849 or visiting our website.



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