An infection in the brain is a potentially deadly medical condition. A bacterial infection, such as bacterial meningitis, can cause seizures, intellectual deficits, blindness, hearing impairment and other nervous system problems.
In extreme cases, a brain infection can cause death within 48 hours.
The speed at which a brain infection can cause death makes it imperative that doctors in emergency rooms and other medical care settings diagnose brain infections correctly.
The victim of a brain infection injury requires immediate medical care to survive. Diagnosis and care is likely to require multiple tests, medication and, in some cases, surgery. The failure of an emergency room doctor, nurse or technician to properly assess a patient’s symptoms and vital signs could be a deadly mistake.
The brain injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm in South Carolina can help if medical error or negligence led to the failure to diagnose and properly treat your or a loved one’s brain infection injury in a timely manner. You may be able recover compensation for financial losses, pain and suffering caused by such medical malpractice.
Call Joye Law Firm now for a free claim review and advice about your legal options.
Types of Brain Infections
In most cases, brain infections are either bacterial or viral. They are named for the part of the brain that is affected. The two most common brain infections are:
- Meningitis, the inflammation of the meninges, the surrounding three-layered membranes of the brain and spinal cord, and the fluid it is bathed in, called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It may be a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. Its symptoms include fever, headache, neck pain or stiffness, nausea, sleepiness or difficulty waking up, and sensitivity to light.
- Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by viral infection. It may cause flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, chills, etc.) or in more serious cases be marked by such symptoms as altered consciousness, confusion or agitation, personality changes, seizures, muscle weakness, hallucinations and double vision.
Diagnosis of a brain infection requires asking the right questions to determine the presence of symptoms and listening to the patient’s (or the patient’s companion’s) explanation of symptoms.
Diagnostic tests available to doctors include:
- Lab tests of blood, urine and other bodily fluids.
- Imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or electroencephalogram (EEG), which records the electrical activity of the brain.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture), a procedure to collect cerebrospinal fluid to be tested.
- Brain biopsy (in rare cases that defy diagnosis and treatment), in which a small sample of brain tissue is removed and examined.
Such tests should be conducted if a patient exhibits symptoms of a brain infection. Even if the tests are run, the results must be analyzed correctly and communicated clearly to the treating physician to order the proper antiviral or antibiotic treatment.
Legal Action After Flawed Treatment of a Brain Infection
There are many opportunities for medical care to fail if emergency room personnel, lab technicians, nurses and doctors are negligent in treating a patient with a brain infection. Even with a proper diagnosis, the patient relies on the timely delivery of proper treatment to recover.
If you suspect that your or a loved one’s brain infection was not diagnosed and treated as it should have been, you should have an independent investigation. Death or disability from disease and injury cannot always be prevented, but any unexpected death or negative medical outcome should be fully explained.
When a patient is harmed because medical personnel failed to follow the accepted standard of care, this may amount to medical malpractice. Injured patients or surviving family members may bring a lawsuit against the responsible doctors, nurses and lab technicians, as well as the hospital, medical practice, clinic and others involved in the patient’s care.
The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have nearly 250 years of combined experience helping victims of life-changing injuries in South Carolina. We can conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances of your case and help you obtain the money you deserve.
We take medical malpractice seriously, and investigate every potential claim fully. Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.