Brain Hemorrhage - Medical Malpractice Lawyers - Compensation ClaimsLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
Whilst most clinical procedures are carried out satisfactorily by healthcare professionals there are times when things go wrong. Serious damage, with life threatening consequences, can occur as a result of negligent actions, poor skills, or delayed treatment for a brain hemorrhage. Where this occurs due to clinical negligence our brain hemorrhage medical malpractice lawyers can help you to obtain compensation for any damage that you or a loved one may have suffered. Our brain hemorrhage lawyers charge no legal fees unless your claim is settled satisfactorily and you obtain a payment of damages. If you would like advice at no cost from a specialist medical malpractice lawyer without further obligation just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices.
Thousands of Canadians suffer from a brain hemorrhage each year. Further injury can occur due to misdiagnosis or negligent surgery which may amount to medical malpractice. The incidence of brain hemorrhage increases with age and is often undiagnosed as death is often attributed to other causes. A brain hemorrhage is caused by a sudden leak of blood in the brain which occurs when a blood vessel wall tears. An aneurysm is a weak balloning blood vessel which may burst and cause a brain hemorrhage. More than 10% of patients with a brain hemorrhage die before reaching hospital and over one third of patients die within the first week. Overall about half die of all patients suffering from a brain hemorrhage die in the first 6 months. Mortality and morbidity rates increase with age and more than one third of survivors have major neurological problems.
Aneurism and Brain Hemorrhage
An aneurysm is a weak balloning blood vessel which may burst and cause a brain hemorrhage. Aneurisms are graded according to the following scheme:
- V - Patient posturing or comatose
- IV - Depressed level of consciousness or focal deficit
- III - Mild alteration in neurologic examination, including mental status
- II - Severe headache and a nonfocal examination, with or without mydriasis
- I - Mild headache with or without meningeal irritation
Negligent Diagnosis & Negligent Treatment
Most people who suffer from a brain hemorrhage are taken to hospital however diagnosis which is not straightforward is unfortunately sometimes missed even by specialist neurologists and neurosurgeons. It is often not appreciated that the warning symptoms prior to a major hemorrhage occur in about 50% of all patients. If a brain hemorrhage is misdiagnosed and subsequent harm occurs then a claim for compensation for medical malpractice can be made against the doctor or hospital. A further area where compensation claims may arise in addition to mistakes made in diagnosis relates to treatment. Operations to repair an aneurysm can be negligently performed causing damage that would not otherwise have occurred. In addition there are other types of aneurysm that are often undetected by health care professionals including subdural, subarachnoid and extradural hemorrhage which often occurs after head trauma.
There are numerous warning symptoms may give an indication of a brain hemorrhage which may include:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- neck stiffness, low back pain, bilateral leg pain
- photophobia and visual changes
- loss of consciousness
- sudden onset of a severe headache often referred to as warning or sentinel headache which may occur a few hours to a few months before a major rupture of an aneurysm
Brain Hemorrhage Overview
A brain haemorrhage, also known as a haematoma, is a potentially fatal condition caused by a damaged or traumatized blood vessel which, instead of feeding blood into the brain, leaks and builds up pressure in the cavity between the skull and the surface of the brain.
- Dura Mater: This is a tough and leathery protective layer that lies just under the skull.
- Arachnoid Mater: The name refers to the web-like membranes that surround the brain and the spinal chord.
- Pia Mater: This delicate, mesh-like layer is like a hair-net in that it gently holds the brain in place, and it supplies blood to the surface of the brain while also supporting the larger blood vessels going into the brain.
- Intense headaches
- Mental confusion
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Paralysis down one side of the body
- Neck rigidity - due to meningeal irritation.
- Loss of consciousness
Brain Hemorrhage Definition
While Brain Hemorrhage defines the overall condition, it should be noted that there are four types of brain hemorrhage, and in order to understand the difference it is first necessary to understand a little about the layers that protect the brain.
Directly under the skull the brain is enveloped and protected by three membranes, each one with its own unique function, but collectively called the meninges :
Depending on where the injury occurs, there are four different types of brain haemorrhage:
Subdural and extradural hemorrhages are most likely to be the result of a TBI (traumatic brain injury)
Subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhages are more commonly caused by small blood vessels rupturing spontaneously.
Whatever the specific type of brain hemorrhage, it is the always result of bleeding occurring somewhere on the brain. If a small blood vessel has ruptured and stops bleeding naturally, there may be no symptoms and re-absorption along with complete recovery will be the likely result. If a small blood vessel leaks continuously over a period of weeks, months or even years, symptoms will begin to show. Larger blood vessels that become damaged, cause more drastic circumstances as the build up of blood causes pressure to build up on the brain, which, if not drained, can lead to death.
It should be noted that a brain hemorrhage can even occur after the slightest shock to the head. In a fall, for example, the head does not actually need to hit the ground for the veins around the brain to tear. Often there is no skull fracture or even bruising on the surface of the brain.
Another important fact about brain hemorrhages is that they are not age specific. Anyone from a newborn baby to an elderly person can suffer this condition, although it is more common among the very young and the very old. Immediate medical attention is the best course of action for anyone who has reason to suspect they may have symptoms of a brain hemorrhage.
Causes and Symptoms
The most common cause of a brain hemorrhage is as a result of a head injury of some kind. This can happen after a fall, a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head. Babies are particularly vulnerable to being shaken. In adults, a fall is the most common cause, especially in the elderly. Motor vehicle accidents, (particularly motorcycles), contact sports and some extreme sports are also regular contributors to the numbers of people suffering a brain hemorrhage.
Sometimes a brain hemorrhage can be caused by congenital conditions like vascular weakness.
Some of the symptoms and signs of a brain hemorrhage are:-
If a large volume of blood pours into the cranial cavity and the resulting high intracranial pressure interferes with brain stem function, leading to loss of consciousness. Dizziness, Confusion and paralysis develop if the brain hemorrhage disrupts the cerebral cortex (or outer brain). A fatal condition is a severe subarachnoid hemorrhage, with a rupture of blood into any one of the four cerebral ventricles (the cavities in the brain which communicate with the nervous system).
Diagnosis of a brain hemorrhage can be difficult as many of the symptoms are common to other serious medical conditions like Stroke. Undergoing an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is the most common method of accurately diagnosing a brain hemorrhage, but it can also be successfully identified by a CT scan (computed tomography scan). Mis-diagnosis or late diagnosis can give rise to a medical malpractice compensation claim.
Surgical intervention is the most urgent and potentially life-saving treatment with the best chance of a good outcome when it comes to treatment for a diagnosed brain hemorrhage. Liquid blood is drained from the affected area via holes drilled into the skull. Sometimes it is necessary to remove part of the skull to take away the blood debris and tie off the ruptured vein. This is followed up with anticonvulsant drugs, sometimes over a long period of time.
For smaller hemorrhages a combination of drugs such as anti-inflammatory and diuretic medications can result in a completely successful outcome. Negligent surgery can give rise to a medical malpractice compensation claim.
The prognosis of a brain hemorrhage depends on how quickly it is identified and if the most appropriate treatment was provided at the time of diagnosis. This is usually followed up with physiotherapy, and also with speech and occupational therapy.
On the other hand, after the initial medical intervention and treatment, a successful recovery really depends on the sufferer adhering to the medication regimen and making alterations to their lifestyle as advised.
Unfortunately there is no known prevention for a brain hemorrhage caused by accident or injury. Protection by wearing a helmet when riding an unsecured vehicle, and caution at all times only somewhat addresses prevention.
There is also no protection from this condition for those born with the predisposition to brain bleeding except to be aware of their condition and alert to symptoms that may indicate a hemorrhage is present.
As a final, positive note, there are a few preventative measures everyone can take. These include avoiding obesity, uncontrolled diabetes and a high cholesterol, high fat and high salt diet, giving up smoking and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.
Brain Hemorrhage Lawyers
Our brain hemorrhage lawyers can help you to exercise your legal rights to obtain medical malpractice compensation. Our lawyers will deal with your claim using a contingency fee arrangement which means if you don't succeed in receiving compensation then your lawyers won't get paid. You will receive a complete professional service from lawyers who specialise in claiming compensation for personal injury caused as a result of clinical negligence. For advice at no cost without obligation just call the helpline or email our offices or complete the contact form and a medical malpractice lawyer will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim without further obligation.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here