Misdiagnosis and Lack of Treatment Can Worsen Symptoms of TBI

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tom Metier with Metier Law Firm.

Misdiagnosis and Lack of Treatment Can Worsen Symptoms of TBI

The brain is one of the most important parts of our body, and as someone that has been severely injured in a motorcycle accident, I can also understand how frightening an injury to the brain can be. The brain is our body's control center, and it's protection consists of floating in cerebrospinal fluid within a hard skull casing. Although this is protection is usually very good, it is still not 100%.

When your brain is injured, medical care can make all the difference between living a normal life and permanent severe damage.  Instead of simply healing, a person is likely to experience worsening symptoms of TBI if it goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It's extremely important to have a doctor give you a thorough examination after a head injury, and that includes follow up visits until the doctor is able to be certain.

How to Know if You Might Have a Brain Injury

Brain injuries are the source of many problems for many people in America—more than most people think. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 153 people per day die from TBI-related injuries.  They continue on to tell us that in 2013, alone, there were "about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths."

What Happens at the Time of the Accident?

It's common for someone with a TBI to lose consciousness when the injury happens. They might have vision problems when they come to, and they might have problems with memory and orientation. Sometimes the vision and memory issues return to normal, but sometimes they can become permanent and affect an individual for the rest of their life.

What Symptoms Might Follow After an Accident?

Even if an individual doesn't quite lose consciousness, they could begin to have persistent headaches followed by noticeable differences with their vision and ability to concentrate.

Listed below are the common symptoms attributed to a brain injury:

  • Difficulty with consciousness
  • Significant memory problems, such as remembering words when talking
  • Prone to epileptic seizures or more prone than before
  • Difficulty concentrating or organizing thoughts
  • Impaired ability to logically reason
  • Impaired vision and perception issues
  • Impaired hearing
  • Impaired speech
  • Difficulty reading/writing
  • Dizziness, nausea, light-headed
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation and feelings of resistance
  • Noticeable changes in behavior that may seem out of character

Emotional behavior might change from how a person was prior to their injury. If certain parts of the brain are affected by the injury, a person might go from calm and even-tempered to moody and reactive.

How Does a TBI End Up Misdiagnosed or Undiagnosed?

Unfortunately, because symptoms are not always pronounced in the beginning, brain injuries are left untreated for a time, but failing to treat a TBI is absolutely dangerous. It is common for people to assume everything is fine when all along their brain is suffering. The truth is that time is of the essence when it comes to a traumatic brain injury, because if the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long, then brain damage is likely, other long-term symptoms of TBI worsen, and a person's lifespan could be shortened.

Initial Causes For a Misdiagnosed or Undiagnosed TBI?

To be honest, it isn't always so easy for a doctor to spot a brain injury, but this is why your doctor shouldn't easily dismiss your head injury without a thorough examination and follow up. Medical personnel tends to look for short-term effects, but there can still be complications that show up over time.

Initially, every TBI is graded as "mild", "moderate", or "severe".  With that said, all evidence revealing the effects of a brain injury will not show up on x-rays, and sometimes it won't even show up on a CT scan. If a doctor stops there with testing, the patient may think they are fine when, in fact, they are at risk of permanent impairment or a shortened lifespan.

Again, all injuries to the head (even ones that seem minor) should always have adequate medical attention. Concussions may be rather common, but that doesn't change the fact that each injury is at least slightly different from another, and brain damage should never be taken lightly. Even "mild" TBIs are capable of causing some problems that will last a lifetime.

What Should a Doctor Do to Detect a Traumatic Brain Injury

Individuals are often able to tell when something feels off, and a doctor can find answers with just a bit more testing. Getting an EEG soon after the injury can help show the impact. However, if it has been some time since the accident occurred, an MRI with diffusion tensor imaging sequences can still help determine if the brain was ever seriously injured.

These are the things that your doctor should consider when determining the severity of your TBI:

  • How long was the patient unconscious?
  • Was there amnesia? How long did it last?
  • Is neurological functioning impaired?
  • Brain imaging results

Testing can also be done to determine how extensive the damage is to a person's cognitive and psychological well-being. Your doctor should be open to speaking with other neurological professionals such as a neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, and neuropathologist, etc. if the need for clarity arises.

Once an injury is properly examined, then medication can be prescribed for symptoms of TBI if necessary, and treatment and rehabilitative needs can be determined. Some patients benefit from occupational, vocational, and speech therapy. Your doctor should continue monitoring your neurological progress throughout treatment.

What to Do When Facing Medical Negligence or Malpractice

Every patient is unique and not all services or treatments are needed for each and every individual. However, if your brain injury was not properly taken care of in accordance with acceptable medical standards, then you have the right to seek compensation for malpractice. Compensation can help you resolve financial and emotional hardships that you and loved ones have had to endure due to the poor medical care.

The legal damages that can be considered for compensation are:

  • Bills and expenses related to medical care and treatment
  • Lost wages (affected past, present, and potential future earnings)
  • Unique expenses due to the malpractice
  • Decrease of lifespan
  • Pain and suffering

In order to help prove your case, it is highly recommended that you keep a log of your appointments/treatment and your symptoms of TBI. Your log could prove to be extremely valuable in a court case. Furthermore, an experienced and dedicated medical malpractice lawyer can help you prove your case in court. They are familiar with the inner workings of a medical malpractice case, so they can help you plan your best legal strategy and avoid any blind spots. Furthermore, they specialize in these types of claims, so can be sure that you filing, negotiating, and litigating will be handled in the best way possible for your case. Get the compensation you deserve now by contacting a distinguished medical malpractice lawyer in your area.


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