From the 2nd of September to the 8th of September 2019 was National Stroke Week. This year, the theme was F.A.S.T heroes, recognising the people who spotted the signs of stroke and called an ambulance straight away, potentially saving a life.  The diagnosis and treatment of stroke is time-critical and every minute counts.  A delay in treatment can have a considerable difference on recovery.  For more information visit

We take this opportunity to explore what stroke is, what the signs and symptoms are, and how stroke can be treated.

A stroke occurs when supply of blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients, to the brain is reduced or cut off.  This causes parts of the brain to be permanently starved of oxygen and the tissue begins to die.  There are largely two types of stroke:

Haemorrhagic:  A break in the wall of a blood vessel causes blood to leak into the brain, stopping the delivery of oxygen to the various parts of the brain.

Ischaemic:  A blood clot causes a blockage in an artery and stops blood flow to the brain.

The main symptoms of stroke are:

  1. Facial droop, weakness or numbness
  2. Limb weakness, numbness or tingling
  3. Difficulty speaking, for example word-finding difficulties
  4. Difficulty understanding
  5. Difficulty swallowing
  6. Loss of vision
  7. Blurring or decreased vision
  8. Headache

A Transient Ischaemic Attack is when you experience stroke-like symptoms for a short period of time. The symptoms are temporary and resolve usually within a few minutes of onset.

A simple and efficient way to tell if someone is experiencing stroke is to administer the FAST test.

Is the person’s Face drooping?

Can they lift both Arms?

Is their Speech slurred and do they understand you?

Time is critical.  Call 000.

Stroke in medical negligence litigation

Sometimes stroke occurs as a result of negligence.  The types of medical negligence cases involving stroke can include, for example, stroke suffered during or following neurological surgery (such as to remove a brain tumour or aneurysm), in emergency department settings where the signs and symptoms of stroke go unnoticed and untreated, or stroke at birth.

In order to make a claim in medical negligence after suffering a stroke, we must have evidence from an expert addressing that a particular clinician or hospital staff member breached their duty of care and that that breach caused a patient to suffer some harm.

The effects of stroke can be devastating on patients and their families.  Patients are often required to undergo lengthy and physically demanding rehabilitation regimes in an effort to regain a level of daily function.  Some patients go on to lead relatively normal lives despite having suffered a stroke, but many patients suffer life-long disability which can affect every aspect of their lives.  Such disabilities are personally and financially devastating.

If a person suffers a stroke as a result of negligence, a claim can be made on their behalf for the future cost of treatment, home modifications, personal care and domestic assistance reasonably required as a result of their disabilities.  There are other entitlements you may be able to claim.

For more information, please visit our Brain Injury and Medical Negligence pages.

Get in touch with us

Medical negligence is a complex area of law.  At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements.  Our lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle.

If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence, we encourage you to call us on 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts.