A stroke can be a life-changing event leading to permanent disability, memory problems, and other serious health complications. However, with a timely and correct diagnosis, stroke sufferers can be treated and significantly rehabilitated. Sadly, strokes are commonly misdiagnosed, especially in the young (for whom strokes are rare and therefore doctors often fail to order appropriate testing) and the elderly (for whom strokes are often misinterpreted as other diseases associated with aging). Like all medical negligence cases, those involving stroke misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis are highly complex in nature and replete with opportunities for negligent parties to avoid taking responsibility. We diligently discover the important facts, retain world-class expert witnesses, and methodically prepare stroke misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis cases for trial in a way that maximizes the opportunity for a verdict that provides justice for our clients.
More about strokes…
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.
There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may happen in two ways:
- a clot may form in an artery that is already very narrow — this is called a thrombotic stroke; or
- a clot may break off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain — this is called cerebral embolism or an embolic stroke
Ischemic strokes may be caused by clogged arteries. Fat, cholesterol and other substances collect on the artery walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain that make this more likely.
Risk Factors for Stroke
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes. The other major risk factors are:
- atrial fibrillation;
- family history of stroke;
- high cholesterol;
- increasing age, especially after age 55;
- race (African Americans are more likely to die of a stroke);
- people who have heart disease or poor blood flow in their legs caused by narrowed arteries are also more likely to have a stroke;
- being overweight or obese;
- drinking alcohol heavily;
- eating too much fat or salt;
- taking cocaine and other illegal drugs; and
- birth control pills (increases the chances of having blood clots).
Stroke symptoms depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not know that he or she has had a stroke. Symptoms usually develop suddenly and without warning, but sometimes occur on and off for the first day or two. Symptoms are usually most severe when the stroke first happens, but they may slowly get worse.
A headache may occur, especially if the stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. The headache:
- starts suddenly and may be severe;
- occurs when you are lying flat;
- wakes you up from sleep; or
- gets worse when you change positions or when you bend, strain or cough.
Other symptoms depend on how severe the stroke is and what part of the brain is affected and may include:
- change in alertness (including sleepiness, unconsciousness and coma);
- changes in hearing;
- changes in taste;
- changes that affect touch and the ability to feel pain, pressure or different temperatures;
- confusion or loss of memory;
- difficulty swallowing;
- difficulty writing or reading;
- dizziness or abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo);
- lack of control over the bladder or bowels;
- loss of balance;
- loss of coordination;
- muscle weakness in the face, arm or leg (usually just on one side);
- numbness or tingling on one side of the body;
- personality, mood or emotional changes;
- problems with eyesight, including decreased vision, double vision or total loss of vision;
- trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking; or
- trouble walking.
If a stroke is suspected, your doctor may:
- check for problems with vision, movement, feeling, reflexes, understanding and speaking;
- listen for an abnormal sound, called a “bruit,” when using a stethoscope to listen to the carotid arteries in the neck;
- check your blood pressure (which may be high);
- order an angiogram of the head (which can show a blocked or bleeding blood vessel is blocked or bleeding);
- order a carotid duplex (ultrasound), which can show if the carotid arteries in your neck have narrowed
- order a CT or MRI scan of the brain;
- order an echocardiogram (which may show whether the stroke could have been caused by a blood clot from the heart); or
- order a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or CT angiography to check for abnormal blood vessels in the brain.
The recovery time and need for long-term treatment is different for each person. Problems moving, thinking and talking often improve in the weeks and months after a stroke. Some stroke victims—especially those who receive timely and proper medical care—will keep improving in the months or years after the stroke and may return to their normal lives. However, for the patients, young and old, who are not properly diagnosed and treated by healthcare providers, the outcome, and the prospect for a return to normal daily living, are grim.
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a stroke misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, we can obtain the necessary medical records and have an expert physician review the file free of charge to determine whether a doctor or other healthcare provider was negligent. Your best bet for a full and fair recovery in a stroke case is retaining a Georgia medical malpractice firm like Davis Adams with successful experience in handling these types of case.
Davis Adams lawyers are medical malpractice experts.
Tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements validate our commitment to doing medical malpractice litigation—and doing it better than any other law firm. We are immersed in medical negligence litigation every day, quickly spotting trends as they develop, pioneering new legal strategies and tactics to combat the ever-changing insurance defense industry, and constantly discussing our clients’ cases with leading medical experts around the country. We are always honing our skills as injury attorneys. Nobody does it better.
Our reputation adds value.
Medical malpractice defense lawyers know us. Insurance claims adjusters know us. In fact, most all of the major players in the insurance defense industry in Georgia know who we are, and what we’re capable of doing in a courtroom. They know about our results, because they have seen us in action. And they know that when we pursue a case, we will never settle for anything less than fair treatment for our client in the form of full financial compensation. Choosing Davis Adams means leveraging our years of experience, and our reputation for excellence, to help maximize your recovery.
Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney matters.
Jess Davis and Chad Adams cut their teeth handling the most complex, high-stakes medical malpractice cases, typically regarded as among the most complicated of all personal injury matters. Racking up successful results for their clients in cases other medical malpractice lawyers were turning down, they quickly became “go-to” attorneys to whom other Georgia lawyers refer tough cases. How does this tangibly help our clients? We have the unique ability to quickly read and digest volumes of medical records, to pick up the telephone and speak confidently to our clients’ treating physicians about their diagnoses and prognoses, and to instantly reach the top medical experts in almost any field at the best hospitals and universities in the world to consult on our clients’ cases. This rare expertise is a game changer for our clients, and sets us apart from other personal injury firms who merely dabble in medical negligence cases.
We can help wherever you’re located.
Davis Adams is headquartered in metro Atlanta, but our reach is statewide. We routinely represent medical malpractice victims in Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Albany and other cities from Valdosta to Dalton, and anywhere between. Indeed, our geographic reach is evidenced by the fact that our firm’s largest settlement came in Fulton County, while our largest verdict ($10,000,000) came in rural Jefferson County. So, wherever you reside in Georgia, selecting the best lawyer is more important than hiring the closest lawyer. As a client, you have just one opportunity to obtain justice, and we are always honored when that chance it entrusted to us, wherever you happen to be located.
What is my medical malpractice case worth?
Most people who contact our firm do so reluctantly. They aren’t excited about the possibility of having to sue someone, and they understand that money won’t solve all of their problems—and certainly can’t heal their injury. But financial compensation is the only remedy available through the civil justice system; it’s the only form of justice the law allows under these circumstances. But we can only provide our clients with guidance as to the fair value of their cases after the case has been fully investigated. The factors we will consider include:
Economic damages, including:
- past medical bills;
- future/projected medical expenses, including life-care plans;
- past lost income; and
- future lost income.
Non-economic damages, including:
- physical pain and suffering
- mental or emotional pain and suffering
- loss of consortium (companionship)
- the full value of a life (in wrongful death cases)
Often cases are settled at mediation, which allows our clients to avoid the risk and emotional toll associated with trial, and to end their case with certainty. Other times, mediation is unsuccessful, and we proceed to trial and ask a jury to determine our client’s compensation. A significant percentage of our $75 million in recovered funds for our clients is the result of trial verdicts, meaning that the attorneys hired to defend negligent parties know we are fully prepared to meet them in a courtroom if the case cannot otherwise be resolved to our clients’ satisfaction.
Fewer cases, more personal attention, better results.
Davis Adams declines to accept the vast majority of cases presented to our firm. The fit has to be just right: the right client with the right type of case, where we feel like our firm can have the maximum positive impact. And while it may seem counterintuitive to turn down revenue-generating business, we are committed to doing outstanding, hands-on work for a limited number of catastrophically injured clients instead of employing a team of less experienced associate attorneys to churn through a high-volume workload. We simply refuse to become one of those law firms at which the experienced trial lawyers only get involved in the later stages of the case, if at all. From day one, our clients have the collective time, attention, energy, and experience of the seasoned medical malpractice attorneys who will be handling their case at trial, which translates to better representation, and better financial recoveries.
Other lawyers often ask, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to hire some young associate attorneys to handle the unimportant parts of your cases?” That question represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how medical malpractice cases are won or lost, and emphasizes the importance of hiring an experienced medical negligence attorney. There are no unimportant tasks in the cases we handle; victory is always in the details and is never achieved at the maximum level without bringing to bear the full weight of our firm’s substantial experience, dogged determination and blatant refusal to settle for less than our clients deserve.
We do not accept payment unless our client recovers money.
Davis Adams only represents injury victims on a contingency basis, which means that if we do not recover money for our clients, we refuse to accept payment for our services. Additionally, our contingency fee, while reflective of our firm’s quality and success, is nonetheless lower than the fee charged by some firms. We believe, and have proven, that building a financially successful law firm and keeping our fees and expenses to a minimum are not mutually exclusive concepts.