In 1989, President George H. W. Bush designated May as National Stroke Awareness Month. It is a unique time of year when healthcare providers band together to raise awareness about the danger of strokes. This is important because strokes are extremely common. The National Stroke Association reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than133,000 people annually. It is also the leading cause of serious, long-term adult disabilities.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or blood vessel, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Shortly after this happens, brain cells may begin to die and permanent brain damage can occur.
According to the National Stroke Association, it is absolutely crucial to act FAST:
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?
- Speech: Ask the person to say a simple sentence or phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
- Time: If you observe any of these signs, you must call 9-1-1 immediately.
Many strokes are treated with a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), which can dissolve the blood clot. For some patients, t-PA will be given intravenously soon after stroke symptoms begin. It is often used to prevent disabilities from resulting because of the stroke. While t-PA can prove useful if administered right away, it does not reduce the chances of future strokes. It also has a number of dangerous side effects, including bleeding, fever, and low blood pressure.
Other treatments may include thrombolytic drugs, such as Activase, to reestablish blood flow to the brain by dissolving clots. Those who are unable to take t-PA may need to use the MERCI Retrieval System to wrap around the clot, trap it, and ultimately remove it from the body.
Anyone who has suffered adverse effects as a result of dangerous, defective, or wrongly administered drugs has legal rights. Please contact the experienced Atlanta medication error lawyers at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., for a free, comprehensive, and confidential consultation. Call us at (404) 995-3955 to find out how we can help you.