Neurological Malpractice

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Neurological Malpractice Cases

Brien Roche

Neurological malpractice can come in a number of forms.  To understand these types of claims you need to have a basic understanding of the brain and the spinal cord.  The brain and spinal cord are protected by membranes. They are called meninges.  Within those meninges and surrounding the brain and spinal cord is cerebral spinal fluid.  As a result this cushions the brain and spinal cord.  This brain fluid flows from a series of receptacles that are called the ventricular system.
Also the brain and spinal cord are further protected by a blood-brain barrier.  This is a series of small, tightly sealed capillaries that bar the movement of harmful things into the brain.

Evaluating Neurological Malpractice Cases

In reviewing neurological malpractice cases it is important to do the following:

  • identify the nature of the injury or disease
  • identify the pathology that caused the injury or disease
  • be certain that the injury was foreseeable and avoidable
  • be prepared to rule out any other causes
  • assess the likelihood the patient has an aneurysm
  • finally assess the likelihood the patient is having a stroke or what some call a mini-stroke

Malpractice in the diagnosis of brain aneurysms can have catastrophic results. Aneurysms are ballooned areas in arteries. If the rupture of the artery is in in the brain then the arterial pressure can force the blood into the subarachnoid space. This is the area right above the membrane closest to the brain. As a result this blood quickly seeps into the cerebrosponal fluid which surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. As a result there is a sudden and explosive headache. Furthermore this explosive headache can be preceded by a warning headache.

Brain Aneurysm Misdiagnosis

The most common symptoms and findings as to brain aneurysms are :

  • severe headache reported as being the worst headache of my life
  • neck pain
  • drowsiness
  • restlessness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • neurological weakness or paralysis
  • visual problems
  • abnormal eye movements
  • sensitivity to light
  • retinal bleeding evident upon eye exam
  • finally EKG reading reporting a myocardial infarction

In some cases none of the above signs and symptoms are present other than the severe, sudden headache.

A proper workup of a patient with a suspected brain aneurysm is a CT without contrast. However if that is negative then a lumbar puncture may be in order. This checks for the presence of blood in the CSF.

In other words with a thorough history,physical exam and diagnostic workup patients with a subarachnoid hemorrhage should be properly diagnosed.

Epidural Abscess

Epidural abscess misdiagnosis can be be fatal. This infection is most often associated with severe back pain and a fever. The abscess itself is a bacterial infection. It is outside the dura mater within the spinal canal. Also the abscess is slow growing.  As a result it causes damage by compressing the spinal cord or restricting circulation in the surrounding blood vessels. Also it can progress to the point of causing spinal cord damage, paralysis and death.

Neurological Malpractice and Epidural Abscess Antibiotic Treatment

Once the condition is treated then antibiotic therapy must be started at once. In most cases surgery must be performed to drain the abscess.

If the treating or admitting physician suspects an epidural abscess the standard of care requires a prompt referral to an infectious disease doctor, neurologist or a neurosurgeon. In addition an MRI should give a prompt confirmation of the condition.  This gives a picture of any cord compression and the severity of the compression.

Also see also other articles on this site dealing with medical malpractice

Contact a Neurological Malpractice Attorney

Also if you have been injured as a result of neurological malpractice, contact us.
In addition for more info about neurology see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Neurological Malpractice

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation