Your brain is the ultimate control center for your body, affecting movement, coordination, memory, emotions, and everything in between.
Even minor head and brain injuries can affect brain function. Additionally, an untreated brain injury can cause further disruption and affect the likelihood of recovery for the victim.
If you or a loved one have an untreated brain injury, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Once you seek medical treatment, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico to discuss the details of your case.
What Is a Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury, referred to as TBI, is an injury to the brain that affects one or more of its functions. A TBI often occurs when the victim experiences:
- Bumps, blows, or jolts to the head; or
- Penetrating injuries, such as a piece of shrapnel piercing the brain.
The three primary types of TBI are mild (concussion), moderate, and severe. The United States recorded 214,110 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2020 and 69,473 TBI-related deaths in 2021. These figures do not include TBI’s that are only treated in the emergency room, primary care, or urgent care.
Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that males are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized and more than three times as likely to die from a TBI.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Brain injuries can occur in a variety of different ways. It is important to recognize the symptoms of a brain injury so you can seek treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms include:
- Slurred speech,
- Behavioral changes,
- Significant confusion,
- Losing consciousness,
- Severe and prolonged headaches,
- Severe drowsiness, and
- Dilated pupils.
Even if you only observe a few signs of a brain injury, you should seek medical treatment right away. A medical professional can evaluate the severity of your injury and recommend potential treatment. If a doctor inappropriately leaves your brain injury untreated, they may be liable for the excess losses you incur from their negligence.
Consequences of an Untreated Brain Injury
A brain injury can significantly impact your quality of life and your wellbeing. And an untreated TBI only exacerbates those impacts. Consequences of leaving a brain injury untreated include:
- Altered consciousness, including coma and brain death;
- Long-term physical complications, such as seizures and fluid buildup in the brain;
- A higher risk of degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia;
- Communication problems;
- Behavioral and emotional issues;
- Cognitive and executive functioning problems; and
- Risk of death.
Seeking immediate treatment after a brain injury can reduce the likelihood of these more severe outcomes.
However, there are some circumstances where the doctor who evaluates your brain injury recommends leaving the injury untreated. When this occurs, you can always seek an additional opinion.
Most people trust physicians to give them medically sound advice. When a doctor fails to do so, the patient can recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
Potential Treatment Options for a Brain Injury
Some treatment options for a brain injury can help minimize the overall impact of the injury.
For example, certain medications can limit secondary damage and prevent the worsening of symptoms in the aftermath of the brain injury.
These might include anti-seizure drugs and medications used to force the victim into a brief coma to temporarily reduce the amount of oxygen the brain requires during the recovery process.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to:
- Repair skull fractures,
- Stop brain bleeds,
- Create a hole in the skull to relieve pressure and swollen tissue, or
- Remove clotted blood.
Failing to promptly recognize the need for surgery can significantly increase the risk of more damage to the brain and other life-threatening complications.
Regardless of what particular type of treatment you need, the important thing is that you ultimately seek appropriate medical care and attention. Doing so can speed up your recovery time and reduce potential negative impacts on your life in the future.
Is Leaving a Brain Injury Untreated a Form of Malpractice?
In some cases, leaving a brain injury untreated is a form of malpractice. To recover under a medical malpractice claim, you must show the following:
- You and the physician had a doctor-patient relationship that imposed a duty of care on the physician;
- The physician deviated from the generally accepted standard of care for similarly trained medical professionals;
- The physician’s deviation from the generally accepted standard of care caused further injuries; and
- You suffered damages due to the physician’s breach.
In Maryland medical malpractice claims, you must file a document from a qualified expert stating that the physician violated applicable standards of care and proximately caused your injuries.
The expert will outline the applicable standard of care for a similarly qualified physician. If the expert relays that under the applicable standard of care, a qualified physician would have treated the brain injury instead of acting as your physician did, you may be able to recover.
An experienced attorney can prepare a strategy to prove that your physician breached their duty of care by failing to treat your brain injury, leading to additional financial losses and exacerbated injuries.
Do You Have Questions About an Untreated Traumatic Brain Injury? Contact Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico Today
Our team at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico is dedicated to providing the highest quality representation to our clients. We have decades of experience in the medical malpractice field and have secured some of the largest settlements and verdicts in the region.
We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
Our attorneys have extensive trial experience and will not hesitate to take your case to court if necessary. We are confident that our team of sophisticated and experienced medical malpractice lawyers can achieve a favorable outcome for you.
Our firm prioritizes upfront and regular communication with our clients and strives to ensure every client receives the care and attention they deserve.
If you or a loved one have experience with an untreated brain injury, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.