What should you do in case you or someone else is having a stroke? Acting quickly is essential. Getting someone to the hospital for immediate treatment can greatly reduce the chances of the stroke causing permanent health complications like brain damage.
Check for the FAST symptoms:
- Face: The stroke patient should try to smile. Look at their smile – or look in the mirror – to see if one side droops or struggles to raise the corner of the lips. An uneven smile is a common indicator of a stroke.
- Arms: The stroke patient should try to raise both arms. If one arm cannot be raised easily or at all, then it is another telltale sign of a stroke. The same is true if one arm is feeling weak or numb.
- Speech: The stroke patient should try to repeat a simple sentence, like “Put on your shoes.” If their speech is slurred, delayed, or otherwise difficult to comprehend, then it could be a sign of a stroke.
- Time: If you notice any of the previous stroke symptoms, then it is time to call 911. Tell the emergency responder that you conducted the FAST test and that you think the patient is having a stroke. You should also tell them when the symptoms first began if you can.
What is the First Aid for a Stroke?
While paramedics are on their way, you can attempt to give the stroke victim first aid. There are some basic first aid steps you should be able to safely complete without medical training.
First aid for a stroke patient can include:
- Lie the patient on their side with their head slightly elevated, which can prevent suffocation if the stroke is accompanied by vomiting. However, do not force the patient to move if doing so causes severe pain or if they are feeling numbness in one limb.
- Ensure the stroke patient does not try to eat or drink anything due to the heightened risk of choking while having a stroke.
- Place a soft blanket around the stroke patient to prevent them from getting chills and shivering, which could cause further problems due to the erratic movements.
- Remove any restrictive clothing that could limit the stroke patient’s breathing if they are complaining of shortened breaths.
- Do your best to keep the stroke patient calm, and you need to stay calm, too. Panicking will elevate their heart rate and can worsen the stroke.
- Stay with the stroke patient and pay close attention to any new symptoms, so you can give the paramedics an updated report when they arrive.
What to Do If You Have a Stroke While Alone
If you think you are having a stroke and you are alone, then you need to conduct the FAST test immediately. At the slightest sign of a stroke, call 911. The sooner you speak to a 911 operator, the better because the stroke could soon take away your ability to communicate at all. Again, try to get comfortable and remain calm while waiting for the paramedics.
Other Signs of a Stroke
Less common stroke symptoms that are not identified in the FAST test are:
- Blurry vision or no vision in one eye
- Numbness on one side of the body
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Sudden migraine
- Dizziness and balance issues
It is important to act FAST when you think you or someone else is having a stroke. It is not a medical situation to try to “wait out” and “hope for the best.” Please take care of yourself and your loved ones by seeking emergency medical attention at the first signs of a stroke.
When Strokes are Worsened by a Doctor’s Mistakes
Sometimes a stroke is worsened when a medical professional fails to diagnose the symptoms accurately and mistakes the stroke for something else. Or a doctor might diagnose a stroke correctly but take too long to do so. The delay in diagnosis can allow the stroke to cause serious complications and possibly brain damage.
If you or a loved one have suffered worsened effects of a stroke that could have been prevented had your medical provider exercised the appropriate amount of care when treating you, then you might have the grounds to file a lawsuit. To explore your legal options in New York or New Jersey, call (800) 817-5029 and request a free consultation with the attorneys of Simonson Goodman Platzer PC.