St. Louis Brain Injury Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Brain injuries can be severe and life-altering, sometimes leading to permanent disability, pain, or other symptoms. The effects of a brain injury can range from mild cognitive impairment to a coma or even death. Some patients also experience other neurological or physical issues.

We tend to think of brain injuries as being caused by a trauma like a car accident, truck accident, a fall, or a blow to the head, and these are common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). But brain injuries can also occur due to medical malpractice when the patient is being treated by a healthcare provider.

Malpractice cases can be complex, so if you believe your brain injury was caused by a doctor’s mistake, you need the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm, for a free case review to learn your options.

About Traumatic Brain Injuries and Medical Malpractice

Brain injuries due to medical malpractice are most commonly caused by hypoxia (reduced oxygen to the brain) or anoxia (a complete lack of oxygen to the brain). They may also happen due to bacterial infections that spread to the brain. Here are some common situations that may lead to a brain injury in a hospital:

  • Mistakes with anesthesia. When you have surgery, you expect the anesthesiologist to put you to sleep, then wake you up safely. Unfortunately, if this doctor makes an error, your brain might not get enough oxygen during the surgery. The anesthesiologist may have accidentally given you too much medication, or they may have failed to monitor your condition during the surgery, or both.
  • Misdiagnosis of heart attack or stroke. Sadly, some patients who are actually having a serious event like a heart attack or stroke are turned away or released from the hospital by doctors who fail to recognize their condition. If you were sent home and went into cardiac arrest, your brain could have been without oxygen for a long time. Even if a family member could give you CPR until paramedics arrived, you still might not have gotten enough oxygen to your brain. Had you been in a hospital, there would have been options like medications or defibrillators to restart your heart sooner. With strokes, the saying is, “Time lost is brain lost.” The longer it took to get treatment for your stroke, the more brain cells were likely damaged.
  • Medication overdose or other errors. Sometimes a healthcare provider accidentally prescribes the wrong dose of a drug or the wrong drug. In other situations, the doctor prescribes the medication correctly, but a nurse or other healthcare worker dispenses the wrong drug or dose. When this happens, you may experience depressed breathing or a cardiac arrest that leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain. Or, a drug error may cause dangerously high blood pressure, which leads to a stroke or heart attack, which then leads to losing oxygen to the brain.
  • Birth injuries. There are multiple situations in which an OBGYN’s error may cause a brain injury for the infant. If a doctor fails to recognize that the baby is in distress during labor, they may miss an opportunity to do an emergency cesarean, leading to a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during birth. Failing to diagnose and treat various conditions during pregnancy may also put the baby at risk of brain damage. In other situations, using forceps or a vacuum to aid in the delivery can cause brain damage by putting pressure on the infant’s skull. Or, the baby may have needed to be given oxygen at birth, but this didn’t happen for some reason. If your child was born with brain damage and you believe a doctor’s error caused it, they may be liable for malpractice.
  • Failing to treat kernicterus in a newborn. Sometimes the infant is delivered safely but develops a condition called bilirubin kernicterus, in which bilirubin levels in the blood rise. This excess bilirubin may pass through the blood-brain barrier and deposit in the brain, causing damage, so it’s very important for doctors to diagnose this condition, and find and treat its cause, immediately. When the doctor misses signs of kernicterus, the baby may suffer brain damage before being diagnosed.
  • Bacterial infections. A bacterial infection can start in any part of the body. We often think of these infections as mild because, in the modern world, they can usually be treated easily with antibiotics. Unfortunately, if a bacterial infection goes undiagnosed and untreated, in some cases, it can get worse and spread through the bloodstream to the brain, causing inflammation and damage there.

How to Recover After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Sometimes people who get help from physical or occupational therapists after a brain injury can recover some of the lost functions. But in other cases, there is simply too much irreversible damage to the brain, and the patient is left with a permanent impairment.

Missouri law defines several categories of catastrophic injuries, including one for brain injuries. A brain injury is considered catastrophic if it causes cognitive difficulties that lead to a permanent inability to make decisions or perform daily activities like eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, or walking. If you believe medical malpractice led to this kind of brain injury for you or a loved one, please contact Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm, for a free consultation to learn your options.

Potential Damages in Your Medical Malpractice Case

If there is evidence that medical malpractice caused your brain injury, your lawyer will help you determine your damages. These may include:

  • Medical costs. All your current bills related to your brain injury should be covered, but that’s not all. Unfortunately, brain injuries often lead to a lifetime of continued costs for medical care or other assistance. Your attorney will help you calculate your expected future medical costs related to your injury.
  • Lost income. Whether you lost time at work while recovering from your injury or became disabled so that you can no longer work at all, you’re entitled to recover lost wages or earning potential.
  • Permanent disability. If you have lost the ability to do everyday tasks or enjoy activities you love, you deserve compensation for this.
  • Pain and suffering. This, like permanent disability, is considered “non-economic damage,” meaning that it isn’t attached to a particular economic cost, like a hospital bill or a paycheck you otherwise would have received. This distinction is important in St. Louis medical malpractice cases because Missouri law places caps on non-economic damages. The cap increases yearly by 1.7 percent and is currently $450,098. However, it’s important to note that the cap is higher if your injury qualifies as catastrophic (by meeting the criteria defined above). The current cap for catastrophic injuries is $787,671.
  • Wrongful death. If you lost a loved one to a brain injury caused by medical malpractice, you have three years to file a wrongful death claim. This includes damages like medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, and the family member’s loss of companionship or consortium. Under Missouri law, the spouse, children, and liminal descendants of the decedent are eligible to sue for wrongful death. If there are no surviving spouse, child, or liminal descendants, the decedent’s siblings or their children may file a claim. When there are also no siblings or siblings’ children, the court may appoint someone to make a claim for an interested party.

Missouri’s Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims

In most situations, you only have two years to file a medical malpractice suit, except for wrongful death claims. However, you may have even less time than that. If your spouse or a family member has suffered a brain injury that leaves them unable to make decisions, someone will need to be appointed to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf. This process can take time, so you should speak with a lawyer immediately if you haven’t already started it.

Is Your Brain Injury Due to Malpractice? Call Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm for Help Today

Dealing with a brain injury due to medical malpractice can be scary. You or your loved one may be unable to do previously simple activities. You may wonder if you’ll ever feel like yourself again, or worry about how you’ll pay your bills if you can’t work. Worse, you may be struggling to afford therapy or other necessary care, especially if your hospital stay exhausted your health insurance coverage for the year.

At Goldblatt + Singer, we know what a confusing and frightening experience a brain injury can be, and we want to do everything we can to take the stress off you and your family. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, so you can focus on adapting to your injuries without worrying about how you will pay rent or put food on the table.

If you or a loved one have sustained a severe brain injury, please contact our legal team, and we’ll answer your questions during a free case evaluation. Call us at (314) 888-1000 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

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