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The Consequences of a Secondary Brain Injury caused by Medical Negligence

On 29th December 2013, Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher suffered a serious brain injury caused by a fall while skiing, where he hit his head on a rock. Michael Schumacher was left critically injured and is still immobile and unable to speak ten months later. He is receiving first-class rehabilitation treatment to assist him on the road to recovery.

While Michael Schumacher’s injury received world-wide media coverage, many other families around the world are left supporting the fallout from their loved one’s traumatic brain injuries with much less financial support.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause a huge range of complications, from physical, cognitive and behavioural problems including co-ordination difficulties, memory loss and speech impediments. In extreme cases, brain injury can lead to permanent severe disability or even death.

Primary brain injury

Most brain injuries result from direct or indirect trauma to the head. This trauma can be caused by road accidents, heavy falls, violence or sports and recreational injuries.

Secondary brain injury

Secondary brain injury may be caused by medical misdiagnosis of the original brain injury. Immediate medical care is critical to the treatment of a brain injury. Occasionally, the brain injury is overlooked and left untreated as medical staff deal with other, more obvious bodily injuries. This is particularly common where there are “closed head” injuries and there are no outward signs of brain injury. Even where the skull is not fractured, there can still be internal brain injury.

The problem with medical staff misdiagnosing or overlooking an initial brain injury is that, left untreated, further injury within the brain can occur and cause permanent brain damage and even death. The long-term effects of your brain injury may not become apparent until days or weeks after the original accident. The delayed diagnosis of a brain injury can allow further brain damage to develop in the intervening period. Examples of this sort of secondary brain injury include seizures, edema and hematoma.

In addition, an untreated initial brain injury increases the likelihood of a secondary traumatic brain injury. Some of the symptoms of the initial brain injury can include balance and co-ordination problems, which in turn greatly increase the risk of subsequent falls and accidents. This may lead to a second blow to the head, which would carry more severe medical consequences than the initial brain injury.

Medical negligence

Medical staff have a duty of care to their patients and where care is not properly delivered, there may be grounds for a compensation claim. Two key elements have to be established in a case of medical negligence. Firstly, the actions of medical staff need to have exacerbated your original injury, and secondly, the level of care you received needs to have been unequal to a standard that you would expect from a similarly qualified medical practitioner.

Claiming for medical negligence

If your family member has suffered a secondary brain injury caused by medical negligence, the emotional pressure on you can be intense and overwhelming. There will be many demands on your time and energy, at a time when all you want to do is support your family member.

At Injury Lawyers 4U we specialise in personal injury and accident claims, including those arising from medical negligence, and we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Compensation can make a huge difference to the life of your injured family member and the rest of your family. We can manage your compensation claim sensitively and professionally, leaving you time to support your loved one.

Contact our professional team today by filling in our short contact form and one of our experienced team will get straight back to you.