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Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice or Negligence

Brain injury malpractice cases

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People often suffer brain injury due to a traumatic blow in an accident such as a fall or car crash. However, medical malpractice can also lead to brain injury and resulting damage. If this has occurred to you or your loved one, you will need an attorney on your side who understands the nature of brain injuries and how they affect the lives of victims and their families. The lawyer should also know how to skillfully navigate Indiana’s complex medical malpractice laws.

The attorneys of Baker & Gilchrist have more than 60 years of combined legal experience and an extensive background in handling medical malpractice litigation, including numerous cases which have involved patients who suffered brain injury. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered brain damage due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional in Indianapolis or surrounding areas, contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.

How Can Medical Malpractice Cause Brain Damage?

To commit medical malpractice, a person must be a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, midwife or dentist. Malpractice occurs when the medical professional fails to act in accordance with a recognized standard of care or fails to foresee the consequences of his or her actions which a professional person, with the necessary skills and education, should have reasonably foreseen.

The following are examples of medical malpractice which may cause a patient to suffer brain damage:

  • Failing to timely diagnose a patient’s stroke or heart attack
  • Excessive bleeding during a procedure that results in decreased oxygenation
  • Failing to properly intubate a patient during surgery
  • Neglecting the monitoring of a patient under anesthesiaFailing to timely diagnose and treat an aneurysm or brain bleed
  • Giving a patient the wrong dose or type of medication
  • Failing to properly diagnose or treat a pulmonary embolism
  • Improperly using a vacuum extractor or forceps during a child’s birth.

The medical malpractice lawyers of Baker & Gilchrist will thoroughly investigate the brain injury in your case, including carefully reviewing your medical records, in order to determine whether medical malpractice caused it to occur. We can also review your case with our legal team’s on-staff nurse consultants and turn to highly knowledgeable medical professionals for their insights. For instance, our attorneys have consulted with professionals from schools such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford and UCLA about our clients’ cases.

Common Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Misdiagnosis

Medical professionals can cause many different types of brain injuries due to their malpractice. They are all different forms of acquired brain injury (ABI), or injury which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, these injuries fall into two general categories:

  • Traumatic brain injury – Brain damage caused by an external factor such as a blow to the head, penetration of a foreign object or a sudden, violent jolt or shaking. For instance, a child may suffer TBI due to a doctor’s misuse of a forceps during delivery. A concussion is a mild type of TBI, while diffuse axonal injury is a more severe type. Many forms of TBI involve hemorrhaging, or heavy and uncontrolled bleeding within the brain.
  • Non-traumatic brain injury – Brain damage caused by internal factors such as a tumor, infection or lack of oxygen. Cerebral hypoxic brain injury (decrease in oxygen supply to the brain) and cerebral anoxic brain injury (a complete lack of oxygen within the brain) are two types of non-traumatic brain injury which can result in permanent harm to a patient. The extent of harm typically hinges on how long the brain was deprived of oxygen. Anesthesia errors and medication errors are common causes of these types of brain injuries. A doctor who fails to diagnose a patient’s tumor, blood clot or aneurysm could also cause this type of brain damage.

What Are the Effects of Medical Malpractice-Related Brain Injuries?

Brain damage of any kind can have a major impact on a person’s life, regardless of whether it is a traumatic or non-traumatic brain injury. The brain injury can result in a variety of manifestations that may impact an individuals activities of daily living (ADL’s) in varying degrees.  The effects typically depend on the nature of the injury and the extent of damage which occurs in the brain. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, the four main areas of a person’s life where the effects of a brain injury can be observed are:

  • Thinking – A person with brain injury may struggle with memory and reasoning.
  • Sensation – Brain damage may cause a person to struggle with balance, vision, hearing and other sensory experiences.
  • Communication – A brain injury victim may be unable to talk with others and/or process language.
  • Emotions – Many people with brain injury suffer from depression and/or behavioral issues, including acting out aggressively or engaging inappropriately with others.

The effects of brain injury caused by medical malpractice may be short-term or long-term. In reality, many people never fully recover from a brain injury. They often need ongoing care, treatment and supervision, and they can no longer work or enjoy life as they did before the injury occurred. The most severe forms of brain injury can lead to a coma or death.

Not all brain injuries in health care settings result from medical malpractice. For instance, if a patient suffers brain injury due to a fall in a hospital hallway due to a dangerously slick surface, poor lighting or lack of handrails, the injury may be the result of negligence – an individual’s negligence or the hospital’s negligence – but it is not the result of medical malpractice.

Our Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys Want to Help You

At Baker & Gilchrist, we work tirelessly to pursue just compensation for patients throughout Indiana who have suffered brain injury due to medical malpractice. We understand how these injuries affect not only victims but their family members as well. We want to help.

Contact us today to discuss your situation and to learn more about the basic stages of a medical malpractice case in Indiana. We can provide a free and confidential consultation, and we will not charge for our services unless we recover compensation for you.