In the context of medical negligence litigation, acquired brain injuries refer to brain injuries which occur, but which could have been prevented or at least significantly reduced if competent medical care had been provided.

The area of medicine which deals with conditions and diseases of the brain and spinal cord is called Neurology and this encompasses a wide variety of conditions including subarachnoid haemorrhage, meningitis, the common stroke and cerebral abscess. Indeed, a neurological injury can be caused due to a failure to deal with an underlying medical condition e.g. undiagnosed and untreated hypertension and renal failure causing hypertensive encephalopathy, seizures and ultimately brain damage.

While it may not be possible to prevent some of these conditions from arising in the first instance, in many cases, competent diagnosis and treatment can lead to a much better outcome. A failure to provide adequate medical care can have catastrophic consequences for the person who suffers the brain injury. We have recently settled cases where adults acquired catastrophic brain injuries due to medical negligence. In one instance this was due to an undiagnosed and untreated cerebral abscess which ruptured into the ventricles, causing very severe brain damage so that the patient requires lifelong care. In another case, in which we obtained one of the highest awards in this Jurisdiction, the patient acquired severe brain damage as a result of an undiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Furthermore, treatment for a neurological problem can itself be negligent. Operations can be negligently performed by Neurosurgeons resulting in damage which could otherwise have been avoided. It is also the case that the wrong procedure might be carried out or the standard of post-operative care following such a complicated procedure may be inadequate.

Infants may also suffer a catastrophic brain injury during the antenatal, intrapartum or immediate post birth period. See Cerebral Palsy & Birth Injury Claims.

Recent cases of note

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Michael Boylan

Partner and Head of Medical Negligence Group

Joice Carthy

Managing Partner, Medical Negligence Group

Jamie Hart

Partner, Medical Negligence Group

Gillian O’Connor

Partner, Medical Negligence Group

Neil Kidd

Senior Associate Solicitor

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