Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Approximately 75% of people who suffer a stroke are over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke doubles every decade after age 55. When a stroke is not promptly diagnosed and appropriate medical care is not provided quickly, the results can be devastating. Thus, nursing homes have a duty to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and to take prompt action if it is suspected that a resident is suffering a stroke.
Symptoms of a Stroke
Anyone may suffer a stroke. However, people who smoke and people with the following medical conditions are at greater risk:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Whether a person has one of these conditions or not, nursing home staff should watch for the following symptoms of a stroke:
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding
- Sudden numbness
- Trouble seeing
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sudden and severe headache
- Rapid heartbeat
When a nursing home resident begins to exhibit these symptoms, time is of the essence. Once a stroke occurs, the brain is deprived of blood flow and oxygen. Brain tissue may die and memory loss, loss of cognitive abilities, paralysis, or death may occur.
What Nursing Home Staff Should Do If They See Symptoms of a Stroke
Nursing home staff should act quickly to get prompt medical care for any resident who may be suffering a stroke. The exact actions nursing home staff members should take depend on a number of factors, including the resident’s specific symptoms and whether a doctor is on site and can get to the resident quickly.
Strokes are caused by age, genetics, or medical attentions and not by the actions of nursing home staff. However, a nursing home may be liable for any complications that result from a stroke if the nursing home staff failed to get prompt medical care for the resident and if the lack of prompt medical care caused the resident’s injury or death. In order to determine if nursing home staff was negligent, the legal standard of negligence must be considered. Nursing home staff may have been negligent if:
- The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care. This standard is typically easy to prove. Nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents.
- The nursing home breached the duty of care. Nursing homes must act in accordance with industry norms and take the same actions that other reasonable nursing homes would take in similar circumstances. In this case, it means that other reasonable nursing homes would have recognized the signs of a stroke and gotten the resident to the hospital quickly.
- The nursing home’s breach of the duty of care caused the resident’s injury. In other words, your loved one’s injury was caused by the failure to get prompt medical care and not by the stroke itself. The injury would not have happened but for the nursing home’s failure to take prompt action.
- The resident, or her estate, is legally entitled to damages. The breach of the duty of care that caused your loved one’s injuries must have resulted in physical or financial damages.
An experienced nursing home injury lawyer can investigate what happened to your loved one and help your loved one protect her rights if her injury was caused by nursing home negligence.
Choose the Right Nursing Home Injury Lawyer
A failure to get a nursing home resident prompt medical care after a stroke can be a difficult case to prove. The nursing home is likely going to argue that it did not cause the resident’s stroke and that any physical harm that the resident suffered was caused by the stroke rather than the nursing home’s inaction.
You need to be prepared for this defense and ready to protect your loved one’s rights.
Our staff nurse and experienced nursing home injury attorneys can investigate what happened to your loved one and, if your loved one was hurt by nursing home negligence, we can fight for a full and fair recovery of damages. Please contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to get answers to all of your questions and to learn more so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not to pursue a nursing home negligence recovery.