Pediatric stroke commonly misdiagnosed in infants, young adults

It's often the elderly or older adults people think of when they hear stories of a stroke. However, infants and young adults can suffer from stokes as well. They are known as pediatric strokes. Whether it's due to a sports injury or birth injury as a result of hospital negligence, data shows that pediatric strokes are often misdiagnosed and treatment is often delayed.

What is a pediatric stroke?

A stroke happens when the human brain doesn't receive enough oxygen rich blood. The blood supply is essentially cut off and, as a result, there is injury to the tissue and likely permanent loss of brain function is some way. Pediatric strokes are no different, they are simply strokes that happen to infants or young adults.

We typically associate strokes with older adults who have, for instance, clogged arteries or heart disease. Those with an aging cardiovascular are at a higher risk. That is why many are surprised to hear of young children suffering from strokes.

According to one pediatric neurologist from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Pediatric Neurology, about 3,000 children in the U.S. will suffer from a pediatric stoke every single year.

Fortunately, many will live through the experience because of "the ability of children to adapt and accommodate far better than adults." The downside, however, is that many will often suffer decades of disablement due to permanent neurological or cognitive problems caused by the stroke.

Instances where pediatric strokes can occur

Pediatric strokes can happen in different instances.

Some suffer as a result of a sports injury. In one case, a teen was tackled during a sporting event that caused his artery to form a clot. The clot traveled to his brain and cut off the oxygen rich blood supply in his brain.

Other infants or young adults suffer pediatric strokes as a result of birth trauma at the hands of a negligent doctor or medical staff. Approximately 1 in 3 babies are estimated to suffer from a pediatric stroke during birth.

Whether during birth or later in a child's life, many doctors often miss and fail to diagnose a stroke and don't seek treatment for the baby or child right away. Later, physical attributes show up that point to an earlier stroke. However, by then it's likely too late. Tissue has been damaged or died off due to lack of oxygen.

In one instance, a child was experiencing headaches, nausea and sensitivity to light. The local ER personnel immediately diagnosed a migraine. However, in this instance, the child's mother insisted upon a CT scan that later revealed a stroke had occurred.

Legal recourse

Not only are pediatric strokes life-altering and often traumatic experiences for victims but they are to victims' families as well.

Additionally, the healthcare costs of treatment and care are astounding. According to one study, the cost of care for a child permanently disabled after suffering from a pediatric stroke for the first year alone is close to $50,000.

Fortunately compensation is available for victims of stroke due to the medical negligence of a doctor, pediatrician, OB-GYN or hospital personnel. Contacting an experienced attorney knowledgeable in this area who can examine the specific circumstances and offer advice on a course of action is advised.