Understanding stroke

Julie Crossley of Ashton KCJ

Julie Crossley of Ashton KCJ - Credit: Archant

Legally Speaking with Ashton KCJ

Do you know that stroke is one of the biggest killers in the UK?

Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined. People are dying or severely disabled because their stroke is not always treated as an emergency.

According to the Stroke Association, there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year.

This means somebody has a first stroke every five minutes.

Statistics show that about 85% of strokes are caused by a blockage of a blood clot or fatty deposits (also known as ischaemic strokes) and 15% of strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain (known as haemorrhagic strokes).

Half of stroke survivors have a disability and the risk of a further stroke is highest in the first month.

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Alarmingly, hospital admission data reveals a 25% jump in the number of people aged 20 to 64 suffering a stroke between 2000 and 2014.

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted and brain cells are starved of oxygen.

Stroke is a serious life-threatening but sadly sometimes urgent treatment is not given because its symptoms are not recognised.

The sooner a patient receives stroke treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.

For example, studies have shown that if a clot busting drug is given to patients with ischaemic stroke within 3 to 4.5 hours of their first symptoms, 75-80% of these patients will survive stroke without major disability. On the contrary, a delay in diagnosing and treating stroke could result in deaths and or severe disabilities.

It is heart breaking to see the effects of strokes on clients and their families.

We have seen clients whose persistent headaches and problems with vision and balance were brushed off as symptoms of migraine.

Other clients are breadwinners who can no longer support their family - their marriages have broken down and they are unable to bring up their young children.

Due to their complex medical needs they now live in rehabilitation centres miles away from their home.

The striking similarity of these claims is that their long term disabilities could have been prevented.

The delay in referring them to a specialist stroke centre for urgent investigations and treatment has caused them life changing disabilities.

Whilst we can never put right what has happened, in many of the cases we are able to obtain compensation for loss of earnings and pension, and of course the cost of on-going care.

Julie Crossley


T: 01842 768763

E: julie.crossley@ashtonkcj.co.uk