Florida Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawyer
A misdiagnosed stroke makes a tragic situation worse, leading to costly preventable brain damage. The financial costs often pale in comparison to the emotional and physical costs once stroke victims and their family members learn that the treating doctor or doctors made a mistake. A stroke misdiagnosis constitutes a serious medical error that provides justification for stroke victims to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has suffered preventable brain damage because of a stroke misdiagnosis in Florida, the law permits you to take legal action to hold the doctor accountable for their negligence.
Experienced Florida stroke misdiagnosis lawyers, Frank and Jennifer Fernandez of Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Lawyers can review your medical records and the circumstances of your stroke misdiagnosis to determine if you have a viable lawsuit against your doctor.
Why Choose Fernandez Firm for Your Florida Stroke Misdiagnosis Claim
Frank and Jennifer Fernandez have decades of experience helping victims of negligence, including those who have been harmed by medical malpractice. The Fernandez Firm’s dedication to seeking justice and professional excellence has led to the recovery of more than $100 million in settlements and jury verdicts for their clients.
The firm’s stroke misdiagnosis lawyers continuously receive recognition from prestigious organizations like Super Lawyers. Tampa Bay’s Top Lawyers and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite have also recognized Frank and Jennifer Fernandez for their client advocacy.
Our main offices are conveniently located in Tampa at 2503 West Swann Avenue, a few blocks east of the HCA Florida South Hospital. However, we serve victims of negligence and medical malpractice throughout Florida.
We prefer to meet potential clients in person, but challenges related to stroke patients sometimes make this difficult. If you cannot travel to our Tampa offices, we offer convenient virtual meetings online. We are here to help you through this difficult time.
Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you move forward after a stroke misdiagnosis in Florida.
The Dangers of a Stroke Misdiagnosis
Not all misdiagnoses negatively impact patients. However, stroke misdiagnoses are among the most serious medical errors.
A stroke misdiagnosis has dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequences for victims of medical malpractice, including:
- Worsened condition. Diagnosing a patient with the wrong condition typically leads to prescribing the wrong treatment. Patients who have had a stroke and receive the wrong medication or medication they do not need could face organ damage, organ failure, more strokes, a heart attack, and other serious and possibly fatal events. The wrong treatment typically leads to a worsened condition because the patient isn’t receiving the treatment or care they need for their stroke.
- Unnecessary surgery. Some stroke victims might have surgery to remove pooled blood or remove part of the skull to mitigate brain swelling. However, initial treatments typically include medication to break up blood clots and various minimally invasive procedures to unblock arteries. A misdiagnosis could force a patient to need surgery when a correct diagnosis would have allowed for noninvasive measures to treat their stroke.
- More brain damage. The clock begins once someone receives a stroke misdiagnosis. Every minute and hour they go without knowing their true condition is time they aren’t getting the treatment they need to restore blood flow to the brain and mitigate the damage a stroke causes. Increased brain damage can lead to permanent paralysis, loss of motor skills, pain, memory loss, challenges with speaking and understanding, and difficulty swallowing.
- Death. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of serious long-term disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strokes cause brain tissue to die, which can ultimately lead to death when left untreated. A stroke misdiagnosis can be a fatal mistake.
Types of Medical Errors that Lead to a Stroke Misdiagnosis
From the time you or your loved one go to the emergency room or visit your regular doctor to discuss symptoms until you receive an accurate diagnosis, various events and situations can lead to a stroke misdiagnosis from one or more medical providers.
Errors that can lead to a stroke misdiagnosis include:
- Improper handling, processing, or reading of lab tests
- Failure to consult with a neurologist or other specialist after learning of symptoms
- Failure to obtain a complete medical history
- Failure to perform a thorough physical examination to evaluate symptoms
- Failure to order necessary testing in a timely manner
- Assuming that younger and seemingly healthy patients cannot have a stroke
Causes of Stroke Misdiagnosis
The general causes of stroke misdiagnoses can be lumped into two broad categories: human error and system breakdown. Medical providers face the same biases, limits, and struggles that other professionals face. Yet, when a medical provider makes a mistake or lets their limitations impact their job, the outcome can be life-threatening or fatal.
Over the last century, researchers have named more than 10,000 diseases, and scientists have created over 3,500 tests to identify them. Many diseases and conditions share one or more symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose the correct one, especially on the first try.
For example, stroke victims can experience balance issues, memory loss, and sudden changes in personality, all symptoms that could indicate hundreds of diseases or conditions. Whether from inexperience, incompetence, or fatigue, doctors do not always make the right choice.
System breakdown refers to struggles within a healthcare system that lead to stroke misdiagnoses and other medical errors. Healthcare systems in Florida and throughout the United States connect practices, procedures, processes, and technology. Miscommunication, misunderstanding, negligence, and incompetence can force a system breakdown, sometimes leading to a misdiagnosis.
Fighting the Insurance Company After a Stroke Misdiagnosis
Treating facilities, doctors, and other medical providers carry malpractice insurance to cover them for medical negligence and errors. Once someone files a claim against their doctor for a stroke diagnosis, the success of winning hinges on the decision process the doctor made during diagnosis.
In medical malpractice claims in Florida and every other state, plaintiffs must prove that the doctor acted outside of the standard of care for the medical community. Specifically, if another doctor heard about your symptoms and examined you or your loved one, would they have made the same decisions about testing, diagnoses, and treatment?
Even if medical experts have agreed that your doctor did not meet the expected standard of care, the insurance company will still fight the claim.
It’s common for insurance companies to consult with medical experts who have opposing opinions. If the mistake or mistakes that led to the stroke misdiagnosis are egregious and the insurance provider cannot find experts to speak in favor of the doctor, they will look for other ways to downplay the harm or devalue the claim. They might argue that you or your loved one would have suffered the same brain damage even if the doctor did not make any errors.
Those who secure a stroke misdiagnosis lawyer have increased chances of a positive outcome for their claim. Medical malpractice claims are highly complex and often high-value cases.
Florida medical malpractice claims come with special pre-trial requirements, such as sending a Notice of Intent to the medical provider. The notice must include an Affidavit of Merit from a medical expert who certifies that you have a viable claim.
Some try to take on the insurance company by themselves to recover compensation for damages. But, an experienced malpractice lawyer can meet all deadlines and file all appropriate paperwork so the claims process goes more smoothly.
What You and Your Family Members Can Do After a Stroke Misdiagnosis in Florida
If you know your or your loved one’s stroke was misdiagnosed, it is likely you have already obtained a second opinion. Your lawyer will investigate your case and gather evidence to support your stroke misdiagnosis claim. However, you can take some actions to strengthen your claim or help support your loved one’s claim. They include:
Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
You might feel frustrated, or even angry, about a stroke misdiagnosis. At the very least, you might distrust other doctors.
Trust your current doctor or find one that you do and follow a treatment plan. Stroke victims suffer various functional issues that typically require physical and occupational therapy.
Keep your medical appointments to help you heal and make it difficult for the insurance company to argue your symptoms are not improving because you will not follow your doctor’s orders. Stroke victims who are not hospitalized often rely on close friends and family to help them to and from their appointments.
Keep Proof of Economic Loss
Strokes are costly to treat. A misdiagnosis increases the cost because patients must receive more treatment. Many need to be hospitalized for weeks or longer, and some require surgery.
Depending on the level of brain damage, some stroke victims cannot return home because they need around-the-clock care. Medical expenses, lost income and earnings, and other expenses quickly add up. You must prove these losses to recoup them in a claim.
Keep copies of all medical bills, payroll information, receipts, and any other documents that prove your or your loved one’s losses. When in doubt, save everything. Your lawyer can eliminate anything that does not apply to your claim.
Keep a Daily Journal
A daily journal serves as one of the best ways to convey the struggles you or your loved one faces because of their stroke. Stroke victims might struggle to write, so keeping a video journal might make more sense. In either case, record physical challenges, emotional thoughts, and financial struggles, or write them.
Your lawyer can review this information and get a better idea of how much you might recover from non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Stroke Misdiagnosis in Florida
A stroke misdiagnosis is often a debilitating or fatal mistake, leaving victims and their families suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. Medical providers have a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. Stroke victims should not have to pay when doctors do not comply.
Frank and Jennifer Fernandez of the Fernandez Firm have been helping medical malpractice victims hold negligence doctors accountable for their actions for decades. They understand how to navigate the complexities of a stroke misdiagnosis claim in Florida and want to help patients obtain maximum compensation so they have the financial means to get the treatment they need after a stroke.
Contact skilled personal injury attorney at Fernandez Firm today at (813) 278-1032 to discuss the details of your stroke misdiagnosis and learn more about how we can help, or submit your information online.
The Fernandez Firm – Tampa Office
2503 W Swann Ave #100,
Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: (813) 278-1032