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Docs, Families May Underestimate Patients' Odds After Some Strokes: Study
Date:2/7/2013

-reviewed journal.

Why might physicians be prone to be overly pessimistic about these patients? Tirschwell said he thinks many of the health care providers in hospitals don't have either a long-term perspective or the benefit of seeing how many of these people progress through rehabilitation.

He also explained that physicians and family members often overestimate the challenge of potential disability when they're deciding if they should withdraw life support. "Even if Dad loved to play golf [and won't be able to do that anymore], people have an amazing ability to adjust to new circumstances. They often report a very acceptable quality of life," Tirschwell said.

But Dr. Rafael Ortiz, director of the Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, expressed some concerns about the study. He said that while more cases may be reversible than ever before recognized, physicians need to be sensitive to how people would define a "good quality of life" for themselves.

"For some, it is going back to work and having a completely normal life," he noted. "Some people go back to a normal life. But the majority will have some disability, and some will have severe disability or death."

More information

Find out more about hemorrhagic stroke at the Dana Foundation.

SOURCES: David Tirschwell, M.D., M.Sc., co-director, University of Washington Stroke Center at Harborview, Seattle; Rafael Ortiz, M.D., director, Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Feb. 7, 2013, presentation, American Stroke Association annual meeting, Honolulu


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