Acquired Brain Injuries

An Acquired Brain Injury is an injury to the brain which is not hereditary (passed through genetics).

What causes an acquired brain injury?

An acquired brain injury can be caused by many things, including physical trauma such as a car accident or an assault or fall, a lack of oxygen to the brain, or a stroke.

What are the symptoms of an acquired brain injury?

These can include; being unable to remember the event causing the brain injury immediately before, or up to 24 hours afterwards; exhibiting confusion and disorientation; short term memory loss; being unable to express themselves either verbally or in writing; headaches; dizziness; blurred vision; nausea and vomiting; fatigue; depression; irritability; problems with concentration; being unable to think logically, understand rules or follow discussion.

Can you recover from an acquired brain injury?

It is possible to have temporary effects of brain damage, but more often effects are permanent and can be life changing.  How much of a recovery is made can depend on the extent of the damage and the rehabilitation that the injured person receives.  Rehabilitation can also help the injured person develop coping strategies to deal with ongoing and long term difficulties, both emotionally and physically.  There are specialist organisations and professionals who can help with this and often with that help the injured person can return to their home and workplace.

What can I do if I believe brain damage has resulted from someone else's negligence?

If a brain injury has resulted from someone else’s negligence it is possible to bring a claim for compensation against them.  Our Specialist Team is experienced in successfully pursuing claims in these circumstances which includes assessing what future needs are required to enable the injured person to lead as normal a life as possible.

Brain injuries caused by stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. More than half of all stroke survivors are left dependent on others for everyday activities. Stroke is now the third leading cause of death in the UK.  Nonetheless things are improving, with quick treatment and a full rehabilitation package, stroke is no longer a life limiting condition for everyone.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It can be caused by a blockage in one of the blood vessels leading to the brain (infarction), known as an ischaemic stroke, or a bleed in the brain (haemorrhage). The only way to distinguish between an ischaemic stroke and a haemorrhagic stroke is by a brain scan.  Strokes impact people in different ways. This depends on the part of the brain affected. The diagnosis of stroke is made on the basis of a careful history and examination.

Were warning signs for my stroke missed?

It is estimated that around 1/3 of strokes have a preventable cause.  54% of patients have known Hypertension (high blood pressure) before a stroke and 22% have known atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).  Some patients have a transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and they should be treated and followed up appropriately.  If these conditions were mismanaged and a stroke occurs it is possible that it could have been prevented.

Was my stroke misdiagnosed?

There are many kinds of stroke, and not all result in a dramatic shut down of one side of the body.  Some can merely cause headache and visual disturbance as well as fatigue.  In these circumstances, there is a possibility that they may be missed by a general practitioner or non-specialist doctor. However, if they are coupled with high risk factors such as those mentioned above, the failure to diagnose or to pass your care on to a specialist doctor may be negligent.

Was my stroke mismanaged?

Upon arrival at hospital, you should have undergone a brain scan.  This will be done immediately in ideal circumstances, or within 12 hours and certainly within 24 hours. You should then be admitted to a specialist stroke ward as soon as possible.

If your stroke is caused by a blood clot, you may be treated with a clot-busting drug to try to disperse the clot and return the blood supply to your brain, this is known as thrombolysis. For most people thrombolysis needs to be given within 4-6 hours of the stroke symptoms starting. Up to 20% of patients are eligible for thrombolysis, however if you arrive out of hours (between 20.00 and 07.00) you are less likely to receive this treatment.

Unless a stroke has been caused by a bleed, treatment with aspirin or clopidogrel stops clots forming, which helps to prevent another stroke. 

Is rehabilitation important?

Rehabilitation is very important and a package of specialist care should be put in place prior to discharge to help you get the most from your recovery.

Here at Metcalfes we have an experienced team of Medical Negligence Lawyers who can offer you specialist advice.   We deal with all areas of medical negligence. If you believe that one or more of these steps were not followed and that you have suffered a stroke or a worse outcome because of it please don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free initial consultation on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

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