There are numerous ways in which a person can receive an injury to their brain usually through trauma to the head caused by an collision or accident. These injuries can be claimed for under a personal injury claim but there are some instances where the injury to a patients brain was caused by clinical or medical negligence. This means that a surgeon or medical professional has done something wrong which has resulted in the brain injury and consequent changes in a patients life.
Types Of Medical Negligence That Cause Brain Injury
Negligence that leads to brain injury is relatively rare and thousands of patients receive fantastic medical treatment from the NHS and private medical companies but sometimes things do go wrong and lead to patients being injured. The most common brain injury claims are:
- Brain Damage Caused During an Operation
When brain surgery occurs then there is always the risk that the brain can be damaged during the operation. The brain surgeon will have explained the risks prior to the operation but there are other operations, on other parts of the body, that can lead to brain injury that wasn’t explained as a risk or expected to pose any risk to the brain.
Brain damage can occur if the patient is under general anaesthetic and doesn’t receive enough oxygen to the brain. This could be due to the supply of oxygen not being monitored properly or it could be due to cardiac arrest due to an error during the operation.
- Birth Asphyxiation
It is possible for the brain of a baby to be starved of oxygen at the vital time of birth. This can result in Cerebral Palsy.
Unfortunately Cerebral Palsy can lead to problems for the child and symptoms may not be present at birth. Cerebral Palsy actually means that the patient has an evolving problem with movement, controlling muscles, eating, talking, getting themselves dressed, hearing and other day to day tasks. It can also cause seizures and epilepsy throughout life.
- Medication Overdose
A medication overdose won’t usually lead to a lack of Oxygen like other brain injuries but it can result in swelling to the brain which can cause permanent damage.
If this is caused by either the initial doctor prescribing the wrong dose of medication or the nurse who administers the medication giving a different dosage to what was prescribed then patients or their carer can make a claim for medical negligence.
- Misdiagnosis Of A Medical Condition
If a patient presents with symptoms that a doctor misdiagnoses then it can lead to a patient’s brain being permanently damaged. If urgent treatment that should have been given isn’t given or is delayed because of the misdiagnosis then the patient would be advised to seek compensation for medical negligence.
If it can be proven that the doctor’s advice wasn’t what would be expected then the patient would have a good chance of a successful compensation claim for their brain injury.
Time Constraints With Brain Injury Claims
With all medical negligence claims, including patients who have a brain injury, there are strict laws in place to make a compensation claim.
The law states that the patient must claim within three years of the injury happening or three years from when the patient became aware of the injury. With patients who were under the age of 18 when they found out about the injury the three year time frame starts from their 18th birthday.
Advice For Patients Who Have A Brain Injury Caused By Medical Negligence
Brain injuries are very complex areas with regards medical negligence and compensation claims.
In most cases medical institutions will have the best legal representatives available to them as they want to protect their doctors and nurses from false claims of negligence so will defend them where there is a case for defence. Therefore if a patient feels that they have a sound case for compensation then they should ensure the medical negligence solicitor they choose has experience and history in dealing with similar cases and that they know which medical experts to use to back up their claims.
Patients should ask to see evidence of recent cases of a similar nature to help them choose the correct solicitor.