As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I have handled a number of stroke cases. In recent memory, I have represented patients who received stroke care at Memorial Hermann and Houston Methodist hospitals, as well as Kingwood Medical Center.
This week, a family member of a new client called Painter Law Firm’s Houston office to discuss stroke care that was provided at a hospital in the Waco area. Unlike most stroke care cases, this patient had a hemorrhagic stroke.
The types of stroke
There are two types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes account for the lion’s share of strokes—87% of all strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes make up the balance of 13% of all strokes.
Ischemic strokes are caused when something disrupts blood flow to the brain, frequently because of a blood clot or embolism. Hemorrhagic strokes, on the other hand, are caused by the rupture of the blood vessel within the brain, called an intracerebral hemorrhage. The most common cause of an intracerebral hemorrhage is an aneurysm, but a less-common cause is a congenital condition called arteriovenous malformation (abbreviated AVM).
Symptoms of hemorrhagic stroke
Fortunately, this patient got to the hospital quickly when her hemorrhagic stroke symptoms developed. She was taken to hospital by ambulance and was still awake and talking on the trip.
Medical experts that I have used to review stroke cases in the past have described in intracerebral hemorrhage causing a hemorrhagic stroke as a space-occupying lesion. In other words, the bleeding that is occurring within the brain is occupying precious, limited space within the cranial cavity.
The symptoms that any given patient experiences with a hemorrhagic stroke depends on where the bleeding occurs. Typical symptoms can include general altered mental status or confusion, nausea, vomiting, sudden onset headache (patients often call it “the worst headache of my life”), partial or total loss of consciousness, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, dizziness and loss of balance, seizures, and altered speech.
How a hemorrhagic stroke should be treated
As you might expect, timing is important when it comes to treating hemorrhagic stroke. Our heads only have so much space to accommodate bleeding and swelling, so the immediate emergency care for hemorrhagic stroke addresses getting the bleeding under control and reducing intracranial pressure.
After the bleeding and intracranial pressure are under control, the medical team will focus on whether surgery is necessary. In cases where there is only a small amount of bleeding, surgery may not be necessary. For more extensive or massive hemorrhagic strokes, though, the patient will likely be taken to surgery to repair the damaged, ruptured blood vessel, and potentially to relieve pressure caused by bleeding and swelling. In some cases, this may require a craniotomy, or removal of a part of the skull to allow the brain room to swell. In other cases, surgeons may insert a shunt to drain fluid and reduce pressure on the brain.
We are here to help
Stroke cases require careful investigation because they are complicated both medically and legally. Patients and family members who suspect misdiagnosis or improper treatment of a stroke should contact an experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
The attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.
All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.