Telemedicine and Errors in Diagnosing Stroke in Florida
A quick diagnosis and prompt treatment are absolutely critical to ensuring the best outcome for a patient suffering from stroke. Every second counts, especially for acute ischemic stroke (AIS), where there’s a very short time window to employ thrombolysis with intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV tPA). The problem is that there may be logistical challenges with access to essential medical resources, since there are only nine Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals (ASRHs) throughout all of Florida.
Fortunately, the medical industry has formulated an effective response to this problem: Providing stroke care through telemedicine, i.e., “telestroke.” There are no guarantees with this approach, however. The potential for mistakes increases whenever a health care provider isn’t in the same room with the patient, so you should discuss concerns with a Florida stroke medical malpractice attorney. An overview of telestroke concepts may also be informative.
Telestroke and Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals in Florida: One of the requirements for ASRH certification is that the facility must provide access to stroke expertise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A center can meet this requirement by having a medical professional on staff, or by having one available via telecommunications networks. The Mayo Clinic defines this arrangement “telestroke” or stroke telemedicine, where physicians with specialized training in stroke use technology to provide treatment from a remote location.
The point of telestroke is to provide immediate diagnosis and treatment, thereby avoiding the need to transfer the patient to another location. Most regional facilities don’t have neurology specialists on call, but a patient can still get essential care from a qualified provider. Through stroke telemedicine, physicians can administer tPA within the 4.5-hour time period for AIS.
Concerns About Stroke Medical Malpractice: Telestroke is a promising approach to stroke treatment, but the pitfalls are undeniable. Physician-patient communications occur through video cameras and transmit the content through a telecommunications network, robotics, smartphones, tablets, and related equipment. The treatment team may include:
- A patient encounter manager to coordinate the process;
- Neurologists, neurosurgeons, and radiologists at the remote site;
- Emergency care physicians who are physically present with the patient; and
- Many more.
There’s no doubt that the combination of these team members and telestroke technology improve patient outcomes. At the same time, there are also multiple opportunities for critical errors in diagnosis or treatment because the physician isn’t in the examination room. Though you may not have a choice in receiving necessary treatment through stroke telemedicine, you do have rights if you were injured because of medical mistakes.
Set up a Free Consultation with a Florida Stroke Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Telestroke and other advancements in medicine have changed patient outcomes for the better, but it’s important to remember that errors are still possible. Physicians must always provide care within medically accepted standards, and deviations can lead to catastrophic consequences for the stroke victim. To speak with an experienced attorney regarding your rights, please contact the Miami failure to diagnose stroke lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation. We can meet with you at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to discuss your legal remedies.