Each year, more than 1.5 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Roughly 61,000 people died from TBI-related injuries in 2019, which amounts to about 167 per day.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBI, but medical malpractice also accounts for a significant number of head injuries and fatalities each year. Medical negligence can devastate families, and cases can be complicated.
Examples of brain injuries caused by medical malpractice
Doctors and other medical professionals can be held accountable for mistakes that cause TBIs and non-traumatic brain injuries. Here are situations that can lead to brain damage for patients:
- Failing to recognize and treat a brain bleed or aneurysm
- Anoxia – a complete lack of oxygen in the brain during surgery or another medical procedure
- Hypoxia – a decrease in the oxygen supply to the brain
- Failure to diagnose a stroke or heart attack
- Failing to intubate a patient during surgery properly
- Neglect in monitoring a patient under anesthesia
- Giving a patient the wrong type or dosage of medication
Brain injuries affect these vital functions
The CDC says four main parts of a person’s life are typically affected by mild to severe brain injuries. They are:
- Cognitive: Brain injury victims often struggle with reasoning and thinking.
- Sensory: Struggling with balance, vision, hearing and other senses is common.
- Emotions: Depression and behavioral symptoms are often present, such as aggressive or angry actions.
- Communication: Brain injury victims often can’t speak or process language.
These symptoms and others may be temporary or permanent. However, the CDC says the vast majority of people suffering a brain injury never fully recover.
Medical professionals have a “duty of care”
Doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals have a duty to provide a standard of care in accordance with the level of skill, knowledge and care in diagnosing and treating patients as other professionals in the same or similar circumstances.
It’s advisable to immediately contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney when medical professionals breach that duty, which results in harm to the patient. When causation between that breach of duty and the injury is proven, patients have a right to seek compensation.