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Teenager who suffered stroke received delayed diagnosis

Certain illnesses are often associated with certain groups of people. When a person shows symptoms for an illness that is common for his or her demographic, medical professionals may know how to respond immediately. However, if a person shows symptoms for a medical problem that is not commonly seen in his or her age group or gender, misdiagnosis may occur.

One teenager understands the potential for delayed diagnosis from first-hand experience. Nearly one year ago, the teenager experienced a stroke, which occurs more often in older adults. Since he was only 15, his symptoms were initially thought to be related to a severe migraine. However, his pain did not go away and other symptoms developed. Twenty-five hours after he went to the emergency room, he was diagnosed with a stroke by doctors at another hospital.

Once his doctors diagnosed him, they were able to improve his situation by relieving the swelling on his brain. He lost movement of the left side of his body and had to relearn how to perform many functions which he previously did without much thought, like walking and talking.

After spending two months in the hospital, he moved onto rehabilitation work. He now says that he is "practically 100 percent." However, he also admits, "I am very, very lucky."

Since teenagers and children experience strokes less often than adults, medical professionals may not diagnose their strokes very quickly. This could be a fatal mistake, since treating strokes immediately is critical.

If this teenager was not diagnosed when he was, it is possible that he would be suffering longer-term impacts of the stroke. If a person is misdiagnosed and his or her quality of life and abilities are affected, filing a medical malpractice suit may be beneficial.

Source: ABC News, "Pediatric stroke often misdiagnosed, treatment delayed," Susan Donaldson James," Feb. 11, 2013

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