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What happens if a TIA is misdiagnosed?

A TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is commonly referred to as a pre-stroke or a mini-stroke. While it is not itself a permanent medical condition, the dizziness and headaches it brings on temporarily are a warning sign that a full blown stroke is imminent. A patient who experiences a stroke, which can be compared to a heart attack in the brain, will lose circulation to important parts of the brain, which can lead to severe damage.

As many people in Houston who have loved ones who have experienced a stroke know, paralysis, cognitive difficulties and other serious and life-long symptoms can follow a stroke. In many cases, a stroke can be fatal.

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of a TIA is fairly common. One expert even estimated that misdiagnoses account for up to 160,000 deaths or debilitating brain injuries annually, as a prompt medical response to a TIA is critical to the prevention of a full-blown stroke.

The problem with misdiagnosis was particularly pronounced in emergency rooms. In one study, experts found that over 12.5%, one in eight, patients who wound up hospitalized after experiencing a stroke had been to the emergency room days or weeks earlier. There was a significant possibility that they had been sent home without their providers noticing that they were showing the early warning signs of a full-blown stroke. According to the same study, women and minorities, as well as people younger than 45, are much more likely to be misdiagnosed after a visit to the emergency room.

A misdiagnosis of a mini-stroke is a very serious affair since it can result in a missed opportunity to prevent a debilitating stroke. Houston residents who feel that they or their loved ones were misdiagnosed may have legal options.

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