People in New York who go to the emergency room after a stroke and have to wait for treatment may suffer serious consequences as a result of that delay. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada, it is possible that the outcomes for people who face delays after arriving at the hospital might be even worse than for those who are delayed in getting to the hospital.
The latter has long been known as a factor affecting a person’s ability to recover from a stroke. For the former, researchers examined seven different studies of stroke patients conducted over a period of five years. The criterion for the effects of the treatment delays is a quality-of-life measure known as healthy life-years lost that combines both how disabled the person is following the stroke and the person’s life expectancy.
Result of delays
The critical treatment that a stroke patient needs to receive is the restoration of the blood flow to the blocked artery. The study found that a treatment delay of just 10 minutes meant the patient lost eight healthy-life weeks. A delay of an hour meant 11 months lost. For the patients examined in the study, the median delay was 105 minutes, meaning nearly a full healthy life-year lost due to delays.
Why delays occur
There are several reasons that delays might happen. At certain times, the medical team could be unavailable for immediate treatment. At other times, the necessary equipment could be in use by another patient. If a patient wanted to bring a medical malpractice suit in these circumstances, the reason for the delay might be one factor in determining whether it had occurred.
An important takeaway of the study is the need for hospitals to provide priority care for stroke patients. Reducing this impact can substantially affect these patients’ chances of recovery.