Home 5 News and Press 5 Brain damage due to medical negligence could happen to you

Brain damage due to medical negligence could happen to you

The failure to diagnose a brain infection was the root cause of this medical malpractice lawsuit. It all started with an infected shunt in the brain.

This unfortunate case deeply affected the life of a woman who was managing well on her own, until a doctor messed her up by failing to diagnose a brain infection. For the most part, most medical practitioners do an exemplary job under tough conditions, but bad things do happen. When they do, they need to be talked about.

In this California case, the initial verdict was $9 million for the lifelong care of the victim. On appeal, the courts upheld the original verdict, as they should have, given the details of this case. As a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen many medical malpractice lawsuits similar in nature and they are never easy for the victims.

The plaintiff in this case had hydrocephalus since childhood and had a peritoneal shunt implanted in her head to drain fluid from her brain. Despite that, she was highly functional and could take care of herself and even work. She was a patient of a particular facility, as provided for under her health care plan.

In 2003, she was having headaches and was taken to the facility by a family member and was handed some Tylenol. Several days later, her symptoms were worse and she was taken to an ER, where a doctor said shunt infection needed to be ruled out. Based on that initial concern, the woman was transferred to another hospital, where another doctor examined her and called for a neurosurgical consult.

The hospital doctor, for some unknown reason, did not write down the woman’s symptoms and did not mention the patient had been sent to him to rule out brain shunt infection. As a net result of lack of information, the neurosurgeon didn’t look at any other records from other physicians and didn’t test for infection. He then left for a vacation. The patient got worse over the following weeks, prompting another doctor to raise concerns about an infection. No one listened. In fact, no one would admit her to the ER until she fell out of her wheelchair.

The woman was finally diagnosed with a brain infection and the shunt was removed. Unfortunately, the patient was partially paralyzed, had difficulty sitting, couldn’t walk, presented with slurred speech, was in constant pain and had to be fed by others. The prognosis was permanent, life altering damage that would mean constant medical care for the rest of the patient’s life.

Medical malpractice comes in many forms. None of the cases however, are justified in the minds of the victims, and none of them are justified in the eyes of the law. If you have been in a situation like this or feel you have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact a skilled New Hampshire personal injury lawyer and find out your rights.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

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