A brain injury is unlike any other injury. An external traumatic brain injury occurs when a force penetrates or fractures the skull. An internal traumatic brain injury may occur by blunt-force trauma, such as a blow to the head or a car crash. Either way, brain injuries do not heal in the same manner as broken limbs and lacerated skin. Sometimes, a brain injury isn’t even immediately recognizable. So, how do you know if you’ve suffered a TBI? What do you do if your doctor fails to diagnose you with a brain injury?
Common Causes of a Brain Injury
There are quite a few possible causes of a traumatic brain injury, some of the most common are:
- Auto Accidents
- Sports Injuries
- Blows to the head
- Bullet wounds
Common Brain Injury Symptoms
Common symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Physical: headaches, chronic pain, fatigue, dizziness, sensitivity to light, loss of motor skills, speech impairment, disturbed sleep patterns
- Emotional: changes in behavior, changes in personality, changes in emotional expression, frustration, irritability
- Psychological: depression, anxiety, PTSD, social avoidance, uncontrollable behavior
- Cognitive: memory loss, confusion, mental fatigue, difficulty with concentration, easily confused, impaired language communication
Diagnosing a Brain Injury
To diagnose a brain injury, a doctor may perform a detailed neurological examination which can include:
- CAT Scan, MRI, SPECT, and PET scan
- Cognitive evaluation by a neuropsychologist
- Evaluation by physical, occupational, and speech therapists
Unfortunately, brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose, even with proper examination and testing. The chances of a misdiagnosis increase in a fast-paced medical environment, like the Emergency Room. Coupled with the fact that some brain injury symptoms don’t show up until days or even weeks later, many patients in the E.R. are either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
Misdiagnosis can be Malpractice
It is important to remember that doctors are humans and humans make mistakes. Even the most competent of doctors will make mistakes. Misdiagnosis is common in the medical field and can take the place of a wrong diagnosis, a missed diagnosis, or a delayed diagnosis. However, if a doctor fails to live up to the standard of care in diagnosing their patient, then the doctor may be considered negligent and the patient may have a case for medical malpractice. It is the doctor’s responsibility to meet the medical profession’s standard of care by asking pertinent questions and conducting thorough examinations. Failure to properly diagnose a brain injury can lead to further brain damage, longer recovery times, and even permanent brain damage.
What to Do
If you’ve suffered a brain injury and were misdiagnosed by your doctor, consider speaking to an attorney about a medical malpractice claim. At Kamper & Estrada, PLLC our experienced attorneys can help you understand what sort of damages you may be entitled to and will fight to make sure you receive fair compensation for your misdiagnosis.