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How Do Brain Injuries Occur as a Result of Medical Negligence?

Brain injuries are some of the most devastating types of injuries imaginable. Careless or inappropriate treatment by a health care professional, known as medical negligence or malpractice, could cause a patient to suffer a brain injury. When this occurs in Pennsylvania, a victim could have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim to pursue financial compensation for the harm caused by their brain injury. Speak to a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia to discuss your case.

Doctor Reviewing Patient's X-rays

Surgical Errors

Many different types of medical negligence could result in a traumatic or acquired brain injury to a patient. One example is a surgical error. If a surgeon makes a mistake during an operation, such as injuring an artery and causing uncontrollable bleeding (brain hemorrhage), this could cause permanent brain damage.

Anesthesia Mistakes

Anesthesia errors are another common cause of negligence-related brain injuries. If an anesthesiologist uses the incorrect chemical mixture or dosage, the patient could be over-anesthetized. This could result in a lack of oxygen reaching the victim’s brain and permanent brain damage. These injuries could also occur if the patient suffers brain hypoxia from improper intubation.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are another example of medical negligence that can harm a victim’s brain. An infant’s brain is vulnerable as it is still developing. Damage to an infant’s brain due to medical malpractice could lead to long-term or permanent disability, including a condition known as cerebral palsy. This is a group of motor function disorders that can affect a victim’s balance, coordination and muscle development.

Infant brain injuries may occur during labor and delivery if an obstetrician is negligent, such as if he or she fails to diagnose fetal distress in time. If the umbilical cord has prolapsed, for example, it is the physician’s job to notice the signs of oxygen deprivation in the infant in time to order an emergency C-section. Failure to take reasonable measures to protect an infant could lead to brain injuries.

Failure to Diagnose a Medical Condition

A patient’s brain could also be harmed if a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, such as a brain tumor or cancer, in a timely manner. The misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer could cause a harmful delay in the patient receiving life-saving treatment. This could lead to the spread of brain cancer and the inability to effectively treat the patient.

Failing to diagnose a medical condition affecting the brain could also lead to severe patient harm. If a patient visits an emergency room with cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), for example, but a doctor negligently fails to detect the condition in time to treat the swelling, it could worsen until the victim sustains permanent brain damage.

Brain Injuries and Medical Malpractice Claims

Brain injuries can cause severe harm that prevents a victim from being able to perform basic activities of daily living or earn a living wage. Common symptoms include chronic headaches, blurred vision, sensory changes, cognitive challenges, trouble communicating, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and personality changes. In the most severe cases, brain injuries can be fatal.

If you believe that medical negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer a brain injury, contact Youman & Caputo for a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer. We will listen to your story and investigate your case if it may have merit.  If our investigation confirms that medical malpractice caused the brain injury, we will represent you or your loved one in a claim against the responsible physician, hospital or other health care provider in Philadelphia in pursuit of justice and financial compensation.