What can I do if I took a medication prescribed by my doctor for a few weeks and it may have caused me to have a stroke?

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What can I do if I took a medication prescribed by my doctor for a few weeks and it may have caused me to have a stroke?

The warning label said it should not be taken by someone who has high blood pressure or other health risk factors, both of which I have and are known to my doctor. I noticed this and that it raised my blood pressure considerably; I told the nurse. She told me to keep taking it. I saw the doctor because of my concerns. They finally took me off it. It also has a side affect of stroke. I had a stroke 3 months later. They never found a reason for the stroke. I am only 47. Do I have any kind of claim?

Asked on October 4, 2014 under Malpractice Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You *may* have a claim. For there to be a viable malpractice claim or suit:

1) You would need to be able to show by a "preponderance of the evidence" that the medication caused your stroke. It's not enough that it might have done so, or that no other cause was found; you'd need some expert medical testimony stating that it is more likely than not that the medication caused your stroke. (And, of course, the doctor could try to counter or undercut that with testimony that this medication did not cause your stroke, such as due to the fact that the stroke occured months after you ceased the medication; the jury, if it went to trial, would then decide whose expert testimony is more credible.)

2) You'd also have to have expert medical testimony that it was careless to give you this medication, due to your high blood pressure or other risk factors, and  that the risk of a stroke was not outweighed by whatever benefits the medication gave you.

Malpractice claims can be complex, and they are expensive, large cases to bring. A good first step is to meet with an experienced malpractice attorney to discuss your situation in detail. The lawyer can advise you as to the strength of your case, what it would cost to pursue it, and what it might be worth; you can then make an informed decision as to whether to proceed or not.


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