Helping Stroke Victims With tPA-Related Injuries
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a controversial treatment for stroke patients. It’s controversial because, while tPA can help some patients, it can harm others. If it is administered too late after a stroke, it can result in devastating health outcomes.
A medical professional should be able to accurately determine whether and when tPA will be beneficial for a patient. If the professional is negligent about administering tPA and a patient is harmed as a result, the professional can and should be held liable via a legal claim.
At Brown & Barron, we are unwavering advocates for patient safety and understand the terrible impact an improperly treated stroke can have on an individual’s life. If you or a loved one has been injured, one of our Baltimore stroke & tPA injury attorneys will fight on your behalf to hold the negligent healthcare provider accountable for their actions or inaction.
Get in touch with a stroke and tpa injury lawyer serving Baltimore, 410-547-0202 for a free case evaluation.
What Is tPA and How Does It Work?
To understand what tPA is and how it works, one must recognize that there are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic. Also known as “brain bleeds,” hemorrhagic strokes happen when a weakened blood vessel breaks and then bleeds into the surrounding area of the brain.
Non-hemorrhagic strokes result from blood clots that stop, slow, or redirect blood flow. These strokes are also referred to as “ischemic strokes” and constitute most reported strokes.
Since tPA use is aimed at breaking up blood clots, doctors should only use it to treat ischemic strokes. It is always used as an emergency treatment (injected intravenously or directly to the blockage via a catheter) because it can do more harm than good if delivered outside a certain window of time.
Expert opinion regarding this time frame varies, but the American Stroke Association says the standard is within 4.5 hours of stroke onset.
Risks of tPA
In an AARP article concerning tPA, UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center director Jeffrey Saver, M.D. explains, “Out of every 100 patients who are treated with [tPA], 32 will have a better outcome and three will have a worse outcome — that’s a 10:1 benefit-to-harm ratio.”
However, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Canada reports that the chance of symptomatic hemorrhage (or bleeding) into the brain is about 3% for patients who receive tPA, as opposed to only 0.2% for patients who do not receive tPA. If any internal bleeding occurs after tPA is given, the symptoms of a stroke will likely worsen and may lead to the patient’s death.
Who Qualifies for a Claim?
First tested in the 1980s and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, tPA is not a new form of treatment. Stroke doctors should be aware of tPA, its benefits, and its risks.
Therefore, doctors can be held accountable for a patient’s injury if it was due to a failure to administer tPA properly, such as:
- Administering outside the appropriate window of time
- Using tPA to treat an incorrect type of stroke
- Giving the patient this treatment without conducting tests (CT scans, blood glucose tests, platelet counts, and/or other tests) to ensure tPA treatment is the best course of action
Doctors may also be held liable if they fail to inform a patient that tPA is a viable option or do not warn of its risks, thereby stripping the patient of their right to make a well-informed decision.
Proving a Medical Professional’s Liability
If you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you may qualify for a claim, but you’ll have to establish the doctor’s or their employer’s negligence. In doing so, you’ll prove the doctor’s liability for your injuries and other damages.
However, establishing a medical professional’s negligence can be difficult. You’ll have to show that:
- The doctor owed you a duty of care, or a responsibility to keep you from harm
- The doctor breached their duty of care, failing in their responsibility
- You suffered injuries
- The doctor’s failure in their responsibility was the proximate cause of your injuries
One of the attorneys from our firm can establish the doctor’s negligence for you, helping you prove their liability in your case.
The Damages a Medical Professional May Be Liable for
With a successful case against the doctor who caused your injuries, you can claim compensation for your injuries and related damages. Depending on your case, you may be able to claim:
- Recompense for your injuries, pain and suffering, and/or mental anguish
- Bills for any medical treatment or other medical services you require
- The costs of any accessibility devices you need
- The costs of any therapies your doctor prescribes, such as physical, speech, or occupational therapy
- The costs of any assisted living or other care you may require
- Lost earnings due to an inability to perform the same kind of work you used to do
- Other related damages
Wrongful Death Damages
You may have lost a family member due to a doctor’s malpractice. In this case, you can claim wrongful death damages, such as:
- Loss of family income
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral and burial/cremation costs
- Other related damages
How Our Firm Can Help
At Brown & Barron, we represent vulnerable people in Maryland, including the elderly and other people prone to strokes. We stand up for our clients against intimidating entities, like doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies.
After we take on a case, we investigate the client’s incident and negotiate their settlement. If negotiations fail, we can take the case to court. Our attorneys are skilled at settling and litigating cases, so they’ve achieved many multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. As our client, you can expect comprehensive legal service and our complete attention.
If You Choose to Sue
You can file a claim or lawsuit for compensation. If you choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland, you’ll have the sooner of five years from the day of your incident or three years from the day of your discovery of your injuries to file the suit, according to Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-109. Your lawyer can help you meet this deadline.
Seek Justice With the Help of a Lawyer
If you were injured because your doctor was negligent in any way, you may have a credible claim. A stroke and tPA injury attorney can guide you through the legal claims process and fight for fair compensation on your behalf, which could cover pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, and more.
Our compassionate attorneys at Brown & Barron understand that money can’t make up for what occurred, but it can help you cover the expenses and debt you’ve accumulated as a result. Also, by pursuing compensation, you may find some peace of mind knowing that others will be protected from the same negligence that led to your injuries. Call our firm today for a free consultation with a member of our team.
Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with a with a stroke and tpa injury lawyer serving Baltimore.