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Non Traumatic Causes of Brain Injury

The Scarlett Law Group represents a wide variety of clients sustaining brain injury as a result of a multitude of causes. While traumatic brain injury (or brain injury resulting from trauma) remains a focal area of interest for the firm, the Scarlett Law Group continues to represent a large client base sustaining brain injury from non-traumatic causes.

For example, in the case of Wright v. St Rose Hospital, et. al. , Randall H. Scarlett represented then seven year old Stephanie Wright who was rendered catastrophically brain injured and quadriplegic at 8 months of age you as a result of an emergency room physician’s failure to diagnose her H-Flu meningitis. The infection caused hydrocephalus as well as increased intracranial pressure, midline shift, and severe brain injury. Despite the child’s weight loss, fever, lethargy, and irritability, the physician failed to perform a lumbar puncture, and failed to perform any blood work or other diagnostic testing, simply discharging her with a diagnosis of middle either infection (otitis media). After deliberation, the Hayward, California jury rendered its verdict on behalf of Stephanie Wright which totaled $26,053,000. The verdict is one of the largest medical malpractice awards in the State of California.

Where non traumatic brain injury occurs, the Scarlett Law Group stands ready to assist you in your time of need. If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, you need the assistance of the Scarlett Law Group. Call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.

  • Meningitis: Meningitis (both bacterial and viral) is an inflammation of the meninges which cover the brain. Usually, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is contaminated or “seeded” through an infectious process. Given that CSF bathes the brain and the meninges, increased intracranial pressure results from the inflammation. Inflammation can also occur as a result of toxic exposure, such as where myelogram dye is injected into the CSF.
  • Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus generally refers to an accumulation of liquid on the brain. It can occur in cases of meningitis where the patient’s system for circulating CSF is impaired. The blockage can also occur from a number of other events including bleeding, swelling, tumor or congenital deformation. Increased intracranial pressure results from the blocked fluid.
  • Encephalitis: An inflammation of brain substances called encephalitis. Generally, the cause of the inflammation is an infectious process, but it can also be caused by allergy.
    • In the case of Harrison v. North Las Vegas, et., al. , then 32-year-old Harvey Harrison died when medical personnel at the North Las Vegas jail failed to diagnose or treat his progressive subdural and epidural hematomas. The case demonstrates how the failure to note the signs and symptoms of intracranial bleeding can have absolutely catastrophic effect.
  • Subdural hematoma: Subdural hematoma refers to blood clots or bleeding that develops between the brain and the dura matter that covers the brain. Subdural hematomas can be treated in a number of different ways depending on the severity of the bleed. For example, where the bleed is small in size, or has stopped, it is sometimes possible to treat therapeutically with drugs as opposed to more invasive methods of treatment, which could include craniotomy with evacuation. The bleeds themselves usually result from a tear of the bridging veins as opposed to the tearing of arteries. The bleeds can be a cute, sub-acute, or chronic in nature.
  • Epidural hematoma: These hematomas are formed when the brains outer covering or dura matter is stripped away from the skull by blood from lacerated blood vessels. These “bleeds” generally occur within within minutes after the injury although some may develop in the first day and even enlarge over time. We’re these bleeds are posterior end near the brain stem they are particularly dangerous as the patient may be conscious until the end stage of development. Epidural hematomas are thought to be more dangerous than subdural hematomas, although this is of course a generality.
    • The Scarlett Law Group has also handled cases involving the failure to diagnose congenital abnormalities such as aneurysms which has tragically ended in catastrophic neurological damage. In many of these cases, the outcome is death.
  • Aneurysm: Where due to congenital anomaly (in most instances) or trauma, a blood vessel wall is caused to balloon outward and aneurysm is the result. Most aneurysms are extremely dangerous as the individual is asymptomatic until the aneurysm ruptures. Size of the aneurysm can vary from the very small to the large. Large aneurysms may exert pressure on surrounding areas of the brain.
  • Encephalopathy: Where brain dysfunction results from a non-infectious pathology, encephalopathy is said to occur. For example, where dementia follows an acute trauma to the brain, a patient can be diagnosed with static encephalopathy. Encephalopathy can likewise result from toxic exposure.
    • The Scarlett Law Group has likewise handled cases where there has been an interruption of blood flow to the brain or compromised oxygenation of blood flowing to the brain. Obstetric negligence occurs where there is mismanaged labor and delivery resulting in and anoxic or hypoxic brain damage because a cesarean section was not performed within acceptable time frames. Likewise, children born with cerebral palsy result where physicians have failed to appreciate changes in fetal heart tones. Errors in anesthesia or overdoses of anesthesia have likewise led to severe cognitive deficits in individuals. Surgical errors have also caused infarction or stroke.
    • In Greener v. Hospital, et.,al. , plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of their eight year old daughter as a result of birth injury. Mrs. Greener was beta strep positive, though asymptomatic. During labor and delivery, the physicians failed to give prophylactic antibiotics. The child was exposed to the beta strap during the delivery in the birth canal. The child developed meningitis, which the physicians failed to diagnose, resulting in learning disabilities and other brain damage.
  • Stroke: Stroke refers to the process where due to blood vessel occlusion or blockage, oxygenation to the brain is compromised. The area of the brain which the blood supply feeds dies or otherwise becomes compromised. Most strokes do not involve bleeding although some are hemorrhagic. Strokes or also known as “cerebral infarctions”.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs where bleeding enters into the area between the arachnoid membrane and the dura matter. The arachnoid membrane is a fine web-like layer surrounding the brain. These hemorrhages can result from trauma or from ruptured blood vessels. Seizures in victims are common as subarachnoid hemorrhages release blood products into the CSF. There are three membranes between the cranium and the brain, the dura matter, the arachnoid, and the pia matter. The outermost membrane is the dura which is a tough fibrous membrane closely attached to the skull. The arachnoid is a thick membrane with web projections called arachnoid villi that protrude through the meningeal layer of the dura into the superior sagittal sinus. The pia matter is a very thin layer of membrane that is directly attached to the brain by small threads. It provides coverage for many small blood vessels surrounding the brain.
  • Ischmia: Ischemia refers to decreased blood supply. Cerebral ischmia is extremely dangerous and in many cases involving severe brain damage, is a secondary damage resulting in death. Secondary ischemic insults to the brain worsen the outcome. In many instances there is a post dramatic decline in cerebral blood flow due to stretching and deformity of brain vessels, post traumatic changes in microvascular structure, cerebral vasospasm, and arterial hypotension. Likewise, on a microscopic level, metabolic changes following brain injury can lead to ischemia.

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