Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice

A CT scan of a patient with severe traumatic brain injury resulting from medical malpractice.

Many brain injuries are caused by traumatic events such as a fall or a car crash. But medical malpractice can also cause brain injuries. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury because of medical malpractice, you need an experienced brain injury lawyer on your side who understands the complex nature of brain injuries and can skillfully navigate Ohio’s complex medical malpractice laws.

Ohio brain injury lawyer Tom Robenalt began his career at a prominent Cleveland insurance defense law firm where he represented doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical providers in medical malpractice claims. Since 1997, Tom has used his experience to seek justice for people who suffered severe and catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and non-traumatic brain injury, caused by medical malpractice.

Types of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries generally fall into one of two categories: traumatic brain injury and non-traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by external forces, such as a blow to the head, penetration of a foreign object into the brain, or sudden and violent movement of the head. A concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury, while diffuse axonal injury is categorized as a severe brain injury. Most traumatic brain injuries involve heavy, uncontrolled bleeding of the brain, known as hemorrhaging.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Non-traumatic brain injury can be caused by internal factors such as a tumor, infection, or a lack of oxygen. Hypoxic brain injury and anoxic brain injury are two types of non-traumatic brain injury that can result in permanent harm to a patient. The extent of harm will depend on how long the brain was deprived of oxygen. Non-traumatic brain injury can be caused by medical negligence, such as anesthesia errors and medication errors, or when a doctor misdiagnoses a tumor, blood clot, or aneurysm.

Signs of Brain Injury

The signs and symptoms of a brain injury are often readily recognizable and fall into four categories.

  • Thinking. Difficulty with memory and reasoning, such as memory loss, cognitive impairment, and an inability to concentrate or focus.
  • Sensation. Difficulty with balance, vision, hearing, and other sensory experiences, such as hearing impairment, loss of taste, loss of eye movement, or loss of sensation, especially in the arms and legs.
  • Communication. Difficulty speaking or with other language processes.
  • Emotions. Depression and other behavioral issues, including aggression, emotional and mood problems, a change in personality, anxiety or depression, or engaging inappropriately with others.

The effects of a brain injury can be short-term or long-term, but most people never fully recover from a brain injury and will need ongoing care, treatment, and supervision.

How Does Medical Malpractice Cause Brain Injury?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, or other medical provider fails to act in accordance with recognized standards of care or fails to reasonably foresee the potential consequences of their actions within their profession, and a patient is injured as a result. Healthcare providers who commit medical malpractice can cause brain injury in a variety of ways.

Medical Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses a patient with a medical condition they do not actually have. For example, suppose a patient is having a heart attack but the doctor misdiagnoses the patient with heartburn. If the heart attack results in a brain injury caused by restricted blood flow to the brain, the doctor could be liable for non-traumatic brain injury due to the misdiagnosis.

Delayed Diagnosis

In cases of delayed diagnosis, the doctor may ignore the patient’s complaints or attribute them to another, less serious cause. For example, if a doctor fails to timely diagnose a concussion, the patient could suffer severe long-term physical and psychological effects.

Surgical Errors

Errors during surgery, such as operating on the wrong body part, performing the wrong procedure, leaving a foreign body inside the patient, or causing an injury during surgery, are all examples of surgical errors. If the physician is performing surgery on or near the brain and brain injury occurs, the doctor could be liable for malpractice.

Anesthesia Errors

When an anesthesiologist makes a mistake, like giving the patient the wrong dosage or failing to monitor the patient during surgery, severe, non-traumatic brain injury can result.

Medication Errors

Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong amount of the right medication can cause overdose and many other complications. These errors can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other devastating outcomes that can leave a patient with a serious non-traumatic brain injury.

Can I Sue for Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice?

If a loved one suffered a brain injury due to medical malpractice, an experienced brain injury lawyer can help. The Robenalt Law Firm, Inc. has extensive experience reviewing and litigating medical malpractice claims involving traumatic brain injury and non-traumatic brain injuries. We can evaluate your case and work to bring it to a successful resolution. To learn more, contact a brain injury lawyer at The Robenalt Law Firm today. Call (216) 223-7535, email trobenalt@robenaltlaw.com, or complete our online contact form.