Failure to diagnose Brain Injury

Suffering a brain injury can be both serious and life changing.  Whilst some brain injuries are temporary, many are permanent and can lead to a wide variety of both physical and cognitive difficulties for the person concerned.  The effect of the injury will not only touch the lives of the injured but also those of their family and loved ones.

Brain injuries acquired through clinical negligence often fall into these categories:-

Injuries acquired at birth

A lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain during pregnancy, their birth or in the early stages afterwards can cause Cerebral palsy.  Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of disorders which may affect a person in different ways.  Sufferers’ symptoms include lack of muscle control, co-ordination and balance. They may also experience difficulties with hearing, speech and learning.  The condition is life-long and permanent.

Delay or misdiagnosis of Illness

A failure to diagnose an illness, condition or disease, or a delay in obtaining that diagnosis, can lead to serious consequences including brain injury. Difficulties associated with even mild traumatic brain injury (where the symptoms of loss of consciousness and confusion last for less than 30 minutes) are often overlooked, yet this type of brain injury can lead to persistent problems which include fatigue, headaches and memory loss.

Anaesthetic claims

When anaesthesia is administered, it must be monitored carefully throughout the operation as its effects can be unpredictable and a patient must be constantly observed for signs of distress.  Failing to appropriately monitor or swiftly respond to changes in the patient can result in serious brain injury or death of the patient.

Overdose of medication

In circumstances where the incorrect dose of medication is prescribed or given, or where the medication itself is inappropriate for the treatment required, brain injury, as well as other serious injuries, are recognised as a potential consequence.

Where mistakes are made, our medical negligence solicitors can help you with a claim for compensation.

For more information read our FAQ on Acquired Brain Injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a  brain injury error, contact our medical negligence team on 0117 239 8012 to speak with one of our specialist lawyers.

Failure to diagnose Brain Injury FAQs

  • What is Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) and what are the treatment options?

    Whilst many people have heard of stroke, many people have not heard of TIA, which stands for Transient Ischaemic Attack, otherwise known as a ‘mini stroke’.

    A TIA occurs when there is a temporary lack of blood supply to parts of the brain due to a blockage, which means there is also a lack of oxygen to the brain. As a result of this lack of oxygen, symptoms similar to those of stroke happen. These symptoms are:

    • The sufferer’s face and/or eye and/or mouth may droop on one side. The sufferer may also be rendered incapable of smiling.
    • The sufferer may have a problem lifting his or her arms, or holding them up due to feelings of numbness or weakness.
    • The sufferer may sound different when they talk and their speech may be slurred.

    A helpful way to remember these symptoms and what to do in an emergency situation is to think of FAST

    F is for Face and the drooping caused by a TIA. 

    A is for Arm weakness or numbness. 

    S is for Speech and slurring  

    T is for Time as it is crucially important when these symptoms happen that you seek urgent medical attention by dialing 999, as it  is an emergency.

    If the sufferer’s symptoms last for less than 24 hours then a TIA will be diagnosed. However, if they persist for longer than 24 hours then a stroke will be the likely diagnosis.  Swift treatment following a TIA will help to reduce the chances of any further TIAs and will also help to prevent the likelihood of a full stroke. Without proper treatment the sufferer has a 10% chance of suffering a stroke within a month.  Your treatment will to a great extent depend on your age, lifestyle and medical history. You may be put onto medication to help stop your blood from clotting too easily, or to actually thin your blood. This will depend on where the blood clot you have is situated. You may need to take blood pressure and cholesterol medication too, because having high blood pressure or high cholesterol means that you are more at risk from a TIA or stroke. Surgery may also be necessary, to help remove any blockages in your arteries, but this will only be considered for people who have serious blockages. If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms described above, remember FAST and seek medical help by dialing 999 immediately. 

    If you would like some more information about this article or if you would like to speak to someone, please call our Medical Negligence team on 0117 239 8012 us and we’d be happy to help you.

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