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Stroke misdiagnosis more common for certain groups

Doctors are continually reviewing their methods in order to improve outcomes for their patients. One recent study took a look at stroke misdiagnosis and identified some statistics and some potential areas for improvement. The study data may be of use to patients and physicians in Rhode Island as they strive for more accurate diagnosis of this neurological issue. 

A lead investigator in the study said in an interview that almost 9 percent of strokes are initially misdiagnosed overall based on available data. Those numbers are greater in certain populations and in certain circumstances. If the symptoms of the stroke are mild, non-specific or transient, there are typically higher rates of misdiagnosis. Additionally, if the patient is younger, a woman or a person of color, there is a greater risk of missing the stroke. 

Other pitfalls for the accurate diagnosis of stroke include false or negative imaging results. Many times, a stroke is treated in the ER and not by a neurologist, so the researcher has identified first-line medical care providers as a population whose skills should be targeted for additional stroke diagnosis protocols. The effects of delayed stroke diagnosis are disability and death, so experts feel that improvement in this area will help prevent unnecessary harm.  

Stroke misdiagnosis is a problem in Rhode Island and in hospitals across the United States. A person who has been harmed by a delayed or incorrect diagnosis in the hospital may face increased medical bills, care costs and other expenses. In order to retrieve some of those costs, individuals sometimes sue for medical malpractice. A lawyer can be a helpful guide when considering a malpractice suit. 

Source:, "Improving Stroke Diagnosis Accuracy: An Interview With David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD", Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC, Accessed on Oct. 18, 2017

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