Brain & Spinal Injuries
Our Firm Has Been Representing Clients in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Local Pittsburgh Hospitals and Doctors for Many Years
Brain and spinal cord injuries can have permanent and life-altering consequences. As such, they can forever change the lives of their victims as well as their families. Unfortunately, these often occur as a result of medical error. Surgical mishaps, negligence, and improper monitoring can all lead to life-altering injury. With the often devastating effects of these types of injuries, it’s important to work with a skilled Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorney to get the compensation you need.
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about brain and spinal injuries, and related medical malpractice claims, in Pennsylvania, see the Matzus Law LLC medical malpractice FAQ page.
Brain injury affects up to 1.5 million Americans a year. Of these, 50,000 lose their lives and an additional 80,000 will suffer permanent disability as a result of trauma. Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, occurs as a result of direct trauma to the skull. When this occurs, a blow to the head is hard enough to cause the brain to make contact with the cranium. A concussion is a common example of a traumatic brain injury. Damages to the brain must be closely monitored, as multiple TBIs in a short time frame can result in catastrophic consequences, like chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
If you sustain a blow to the head, your doctor will likely ask if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Based on the results of your history and physical exam, your admitting physician may order tests, like X-rays or CT scans, to make sure your spinal cord or nerves have not been affected. In about half of cases of moderate to severe TBI, patients will require surgery to repair damage to the brain. For example, the brain hitting the skull with enough force can result in broken blood vessels in the brain (hematoma) and bruised brain tissue. If left unchecked, these injuries can grow and press on other areas of the brain, leading to permanent disability, coma, or death.
At Matzus Law LLC, we offer free consultations. Contact our firm to discuss your injury case with us today.
Unfortunately, medical negligence can lead to devastating consequences when it comes to TBI. There are many ways medical negligence can aggravate traumatic brain injury:
Types of brain injuries that cannot be classified as the result of a direct blow to the head are lumped together in a category known simply as acquired brain injury. Acquired brain injuries can occur in a multitude of ways, including:
When the brain sustains damage, the symptoms may vary greatly depending on which area of the organ is affected. An acquired brain injury may affect one or all of the following dimensions:
If you display any of these symptoms following a routine procedure or after an event that results in blood loss or problems with blood circulation (such as a heart attack, stroke, or thrombus), your doctor may suspect an acquired brain injury. If you have suffered a brain injury due to medical malpractice, contact our skilled Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
There are times where brain injury can actually occur as a result of the action (or inaction) of a medical professional, such as a physician, nurse, physician’s assistant, or another individual. In fact, many malpractice cases occur as the result of a miscommunication among your medical team. Here are a few ways a medical professional may commit malpractice leading to injury:
Surgical Error: If you are not properly observed during surgery, you may be at risk for brain injury. For example, it is an anesthesiologist’s job to monitor your vitals, including the amount of oxygen circulating through your blood and into your brain. Prolonged periods of oxygen deprivation can lead to injury, stroke, coma, or death.
Failure to Intubate: If you or a family member is involved in an accident that requires you to be intubated and your medical team does not do so in a timely manner (leading to oxygen deprivation), there can be long-term consequences.
Diagnosis Errors: Physicians are expected to reasonably diagnose or treat any conditions they encounter. If they miss the mark (for example, fail to diagnose a stroke) and fail to make the correct diagnosis when they should have, there may be grounds for medical malpractice.
The spinal cord is comprised of a network of nerves that transmit messages from your brain to your body. If it is injured, it cannot relay these signals. The most common side effect of a spinal cord injury is paralysis. If you have sustained possible trauma to the spinal cord through falling, a blow to the head, or fracture of the pelvis, your doctor will likely take steps to rule out a spinal cord injury. These types of injuries are diagnosed through X-ray, CT, or MRI. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are feeling a loss of sensation, bowel or urinary control problems, or difficulty breathing.
If doctors suspect a spinal cord injury, they will perform an examination based on the American Spinal Injury Association standards. The ASIA scale is as follows:
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries can occur as the direct result of medical negligence. Trauma to the spine resulting in paralysis can transpire because of:
Brain and spinal cord injuries have lasting consequences that affect the patient involved as well as the family members who provide care. If you think you may be eligible for a medical malpractice claim, it is essential that you contact the right Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer. Our firm is selective in the types of cases we pursue. For that reason, we offer no-risk, free consultations to our prospective clients. You will only have to pay if we win a settlement or verdict for you. Call us or fill out our online contact form today!
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