Although only a half-inch around, the brain stem controls all basic activities of the central nervous system.  The brain stem controls breathing, blood pressure, and consciousness.

All of the motor control for the body flows through this small piece of tissue. Brain stem strokes can permanently impair any or all of these functions.

Brain stem strokes can cause complex symptoms, and they can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.  A person suffering a brain stem stroke may experience vertigo, dizziness, or poor balance while lacking typical features of a stroke, like weakness on one side of the body.

The symptoms of vertigo or imbalance usually occur together.  Brain stem stroke can also cause double vision, slurred speech and decreased level of consciousness.

Risk Factors for Brain Stem Stroke

Side view of brain CT to diagnose brain stem stroke

Some early signs of brain stem stroke require brain imaging.

Risk factors for brain stem stroke are the same as those for strokes in other areas of the brain.  These risk factors include, among others:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Vasculitis
  • Connectve tissue diseases

Like strokes in other areas of the brain, brain stem strokes can be caused by a clot or a hemorrhage. There are also rarer causes, like injury to an artery due to sudden head or neck movements.

Complications from Brain Stem Strokes

Like all strokes, brain stem strokes produce a wide range of injuries and long term deficits. Whether a survivor has minor or severe deficits depends on the location of the stroke within the brain stem, the extent of injury, and how quickly treatment is provided.

More severe brain stem strokes can cause locked-in syndrome, a condition in which survivors can move only their eyes but remain aware of their surroundings and circumstances.  These usually result from basilar artery strokes and are the most feared of all strokes.

Treatment for Brain Stem Strokes

Complications from brainstem strokes are often predictable and treatable if they are promptly recognized.  If complications are treated quickly, there is a good chance of recovery.

If a stroke in the brain stem results from a blood clot, the faster blood flow can be restored to the brain stem, the better the chances for recovery. Patients need to receive treatment as soon as possible to allow the best recovery.

A stroke is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately. Treatment of a basilar artery stroke is similar to that of any stroke.  There are two main treatments for stroke thrombolysis (injection of medications to dissolve a clot) and thrombectomy (invasive techniques to remove a clot).

“Clotbuster” Medications

Treatment may include administration of “clot-busting” medications, which are effective as long as the patient has receives then within 3-5 hours of the onset of symptoms.  They are called a “clot buster” medication because it acts to dissolve the clot.There are many different types of clot-busting medications

  • Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)
  • Tenecteplase
  • Alteplase
  • Urokinase
  • Reteplase
  • Streptokinase
Bottles of clot-buster medication to treat brain stem stroke.

Clot-busting medications can be injected into a vein or an artery depending on the location of the clot.

Clot-busting medications  cause the blood to thin, which is how it dissolves the clot.  If a stroke patient has high blood pressure, doctors must take immediate steps to reduce the blood pressure so that clot-busting medication, like tPA, can be given.

Interventional Treatments

There are also interventional approaches that are available to remove blood clots from arteries around the brain stem, including a mechanical thrombectomy.  A stent retriever is fed through the groin and up the circulatory system to the location of the clot.

Endovascular removal of clot causing brain stem stroke.

Blood clots and plaque that cause brain stem strokes can be removed with a device before brain tissue dies.

The physician is able to visualize the procedure on a screen.  The stent is pushed through the clot.  A wire mesh is released that becomes entangled in the clot.  A balloon is inflated stopping blood flow so pieces of clot are not released.  The wire mesh and the blood clot caught in it are withdrawn from the artery and the vessel is cleared.

Malpractice for A Brain Stem Stroke

Like any stroke, malpractice can occur for multiple reasons, but the most common include:

  1. Delayed stroke diagnosis
  2. Delayed stroke treatment
  3. Improper discharge after stroke
  4. Poor planning and mismanagment of treatment for stroke
  5. Failure to transfer to a hospital better suited to treat stroke
  6. Inadequate medication for stroke

If someone you know someone who has suffered a brain stem stroke – or any stroke – it is critical that you speak with a stroke lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your options.

Do You Have a Case?

Do you have questions about a possible Brain Stem Strokes case? Click below to start an investigation with us or call us at 800-674-3082. We'll help you get answers.

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How do I Hire You to be my Brain Stem Strokes Lawyer?

The first thing to do is complete the contact form at the bottom of this page. That way, you can put in details that we can review before we schedule a phone call.

You can also call us at 800-674-3082 if you prefer.

You will likely not speak to us immediately, but will schedule a phone or in-person meeting. Why? Because we’re busy working on the important cases other families have entrusted to us. Just like we would not constantly take phone calls when we’re entrusted to work on your case.

You should also gather all the records and papers you have from the medical providers, go back and look for dates, names, and events that happened, and otherwise prepare to discuss the case. We’ll have a meeting and, if it seems like a case we’d be a good fit for, we’ll move into an investigation phase.

Once we’ve investigated, we’ll candidly tell you what we think about what happened, whether the medical provider is to blame, and what we think about the strength of the case.

Fair warning: we only take on clients whose cases we believe have very strong merits. We’re not lazy—the cases are still very complex, difficult, and expensive—but the risk to your family of being drawn into a difficult process with little chance of a positive outcome is not something we do.

Which means when we do take on a case, our reputation tells the other side this is a serious case we believe in.

If for whatever reason we do not take on the case, and we think there is some merit to the case, we’ll try and help you find a lawyer who might take it on.

Our Team

Attorney Michael Hill

I am a trial attorney who takes on hospitals and other medical corporations when they choose to put their own profits ahead of their patient’s safety. My practice is focused on medical negligence and wrongful death, primarily delayed diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks and strokes, as well as birth injuries. . . keep reading

Attorney William Eadie

I am a trial lawyer who helps families hurt by caregiver carelessness–such as nursing homes and hospitals–and hold the wrongdoers accountable. I understand how the business of medicine can harm people, when corporations put their own profits ahead of providing quality care. . .  keep reading

Do you have questions about a possible Brain Stem Strokes case? Contact us now using this confidential form, or call us at (800) 674-3082. We'll help you get answers.

 Our No Fear Guarantee 

You’ve probably seen the lawyer ads: “No Fee Guarantee!” “No Fees if We Don’t Win!”   

Guess what? That’s true for just about any plaintiff’s lawyer.  It’s what a “contingency fee” means.  It doesn’t mean they’ll work hard.  Or get a good result for you.  It doesn’t mean much at all.

What we promise you is a NO FEAR guarantee.

What does that mean?  For 99% of our clients, a medical injury caused by negligence is new.  The medical malpractice lawsuit process is new.  Depositions, discovery, trial . . . everything is new.

New can be scary.  Especially when it involves having to testify under oath.

We’ve developed systems that let you address and move past the fear. Through education and information about the process. Role-playing and other preparation techniques. We empower you to be fearless.  Because this process is hard enough.

Contact us now.

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Find the Right Lawyers for You

Just as people need specialized medical care for certain medical conditions, people who have suffered unique forms of medical malpractice need legal representation from lawyers with specific knowledge about their medical condition and injury.

Stroke malpractice is a unique kind of medical malpractice.  In order to get the best advice and the highest recovery for a stroke malpractice case, you will need a trial lawyer with expertise in the legal and medical issues concerning stroke.  These medical and legal issues include the proper prevention of stroke, diagnosis of stroke, treatment of stroke, and post-stroke care.

Not many lawyers know their way around stroke malpractice law.

We exclusively handle medical claims, which include medical and nursing negligence in the hospital, medical office, and nursing home setting. 100% our cases involve the failure to provide appropriate hospital, medical, and nursing care to members of the community.

These include cases where patients have been misdiagnosed, mismanaged, or mistreated by medical corporations and hospitals.

How We’re Paid

We advance the costs of the investigation and lawsuit.  We only get paid from money we collect in a settlement of verdict: there’s never a bill to you.

By taking on all the risk, you can be sure we’re only going to take on cases we believe in fully.

What Can We Do to Change Hospital or Doctor Conduct?

Hospitals and even private physician companies are corporations: they speak the language of money.  Corporations, even non-profit corporations, are not real people; they do not have hearts, minds, souls.

In our experience, holding a medical corporation responsible and accountable for carelessly injuring patients through a money verdict at trial, or a settlement motivated by their fear of trial, is the best way to make sure there is change.

A well-fought lawsuit can help prevent other people from being injured in the same way.

What Damages are Available?

Money damages available in a stroke lawsuit can involve economic costs (medical bills, etc.), emotional harms like pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and, if the injuries cause death, the mental anguish and loss of family members for wrongful death.

Many states allow for punitive damages when a medical corporation consciously disregards a patient’s rights and safety with a great probability of causing substantial harm. They are awarded in exceptional cases.

We’ve proven punitive damages at trial, including a $3,000,000 verdict for punitive damages against one of the largest medical companies in America.

Punitive damages are intended to punish, deter the defendant from doing the same thing in the future, and reform the nursing home industry.

What Else Can I do Besides Contacting You?

Once you contact us, you'll get a list of next steps, as well as emails explaining how the process works.  So contact us now, or call us at 800-674-3082.

I Have More Questions...

If you're like most of our clients, you have a lot more questions.

The best way to get answers is to contact us now, then ask us.  But don't worry!  Contacting us costs you nothing, and you are not locked into hiring us

There's no risk in contacting us.  And you'll receive more information on how these cases work, including free access to our library of important information on stroke, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases.