Encephalitis Misdiagnosis Negligence Claims
Each year up to 6000 people in the UK develop encephalitis, which if not caught early and properly treated can have serious and severe consequences. If you or a family member have been left with lifelong impairments as a result of encephalitis, and you feel that the treatment received fell below the expected standards which made matters worse, you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation.
We understand that injuries from encephalitis will be life changing, and that much will need to be done to accommodate and adapt to the adverse effects of the condition, both on the life of the patient and those around them. The legal experts at SDS specialise in helping those affected to claim the compensation that they need when their condition was not diagnosed or treated early enough.
We can help you through the process of making a claim, and will endeavour to get you the financial support that you need and helping to avoid the same mistakes being made in the future.
WHY CHOOSE SDS?
At SDS, we have a long track record of helping clients to pursue medical negligence claims and seek justice when a mistake has been made which has resulted in the unnecessary suffering or death of a patient. We know that if you, or someone you love, have been affected by substandard care whilst suffering from encephalitis that this will be an extremely worrying and upsetting time. We understand the challenges that lie ahead, and we’re here to help.
If you would like to talk to someone about your situation, speak to one of our friendly team as soon as possible. We will offer expert legal advice and support, and if we think that the care that you received was substandard, we will help to guide you through the process of making a claim.
It’s important if you think you may have good cause to make a claim that you contact us as soon as possible. There may be time limits that affect your case, but one of our medical negligence claims specialists will be able to offer advice – and we’ll do everything that we can to get you the recompense that you deserve.
CAN I MAKE AN ENCEPHALITIS MISDIAGNOSIS CLAIM?
Encephalitis claims occur when avoidable errors are made by medical professionals during the course of seeking help for the condition, worsening the patient’s outlook and prognosis. A delay in diagnosis can be grounds for making a claim; it can often be difficult to recognise encephalitis in its early stages, as there are many other conditions that can account for the symptoms. However, it is important that investigations are carried out to establish the cause of the symptoms, as a delay can result in the patient’s condition worsening severely, or even dying as a result.
Other grounds for a misdiagnosis claim are:
- failure to carry out the appropriate diagnostic tests
- failure to record or interpret the results accurately
- failure to provide the correct treatment.
There are two different types of encephalitis, and failing to treat them accordingly can lead to the worsening of the condition, brain damage or death.
If you believe that the care you or a loved one received fell below the standard you would reasonably expect, speak to one of our experts to establish whether you can make a claim for compensation. They will examine your case and quickly determine the options available to you.
WHAT IS ENCEPHALITIS?
Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain, and it tends to occur as the result of a virus spreading to the brain, or due to a problem with the immune system. It is relatively rare but very serious and requires urgent diagnosis and treatment to avoid the patient suffering from life-altering complications, brain damage or death. Encephalitis can affect anyone, but the very young and very old are the most vulnerable.
There are two types of encephalitis:
- Infectious encephalitis- this is triggered in response to a viral infection. Any virus can trigger encephalitis, although it is rare; it is most commonly caused by infections such as measles, chickenpox and meningitis. It can also, although very rarely, be triggered by bacterial or fungal infections.
- Autoimmune encephalitis – this occurs as a result of a problem withing the immune system, causing it to attack the brain.
It can also be spread by mosquitoes and ticks, and as a complication of rabies, but it cannot be caught from another person.
Whatever the cause of encephalitis, the end result is the same - the brain becomes inflamed and suffers damage as a result.
RECOGNISE THE SYMPTOMS OF ENCEPHALITIS
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms that might suggest encephalitis. It can initially appear as flu-like symptoms, such as aching joints, a headache or a fever. Over a period of time (which can be hours, or weeks) more serious symptoms begin to develop, including:
- confusion, drowsiness and loss of consciousness
- a stiff neck
- light sensitivity
- difficulty controlling movements
- reduced vision
- difficulties with speech
- weakness, or loss of movement.
These symptoms are a result of brain dysfunction and require immediate, urgent medical attention to reduce the risk of long-term complications.
Encephalitis can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in the early stages, because the symptoms can also suggest other, less serious illnesses. It’s vital that medical professionals are aware of the symptoms and act diligently where encephalitis could be a possibility.
When you seek medical attention for possible encephalitis, there are a number of ways in which it can be diagnosed. Brain scans, (most commonly a CT or MRI scan) can reveal whether encephalitis is causing changes in the brain. A lumbar puncture can also be used to check for signs of encephalitis: fluid is removed from around the spine via a needle, under local anaesthetic.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) and blood and urine tests can also be used as part of the diagnostic process. It is crucial that the cause of the inflammation is identified, so that the correct treatment can be given.
HOW IS ENCEPHALITIS TREATED?
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the inflammation, which is why it is so important that encephalitis is correctly diagnosed. Patients with encephalitis tend to be treated in intensive care units (ICU) in hospital, and depending on their condition may be there from a couple of days, to several months.
Where the cause is identified, treatment may involve:
- antibiotics, antiviral or antifungal medicine
- steroid injections
- surgery, if encephalitis was triggered by a growth or tumour.
If the underlying cause cannot be identified, treatment is given to support the body (such as fluids to prevent dehydration) and painkillers and other medicines to relieve symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF A MISDIAGNOSIS OF ENCEPHALITIS?
Any unnecessary delay in diagnosing and treating encephalitis can have a severe impact on the patient, affecting their quality of life and even chances of survival.
While some people do recover from it, encephalitis can cause lifelong complications and is often fatal, even with the correct treatment; around one in ten people will die of the condition.
If a patient survives, the likelihood is that they will suffer the effects of a neurological injury, leading to complications such as:
- issues with memory and concentration
- personality and behavioural changes
- depression or mood swings
- issues with balance and coordination fatigue.
Any of these complications will have a huge impact on both the patient and the people who love them. People recovering from encephalitis will usually need extra care and support and may not be able to live their life in the same way that they previously did. It may also mean that they are no longer able to work, and the financial impact may leave people wondering how they are going to cope.
Recovery from encephalitis can take a long time, and a full recovery is not always possible. A great deal of support and extensive rehabilitation is often needed to help a person to adapt to their changed circumstances.
They may need support from:
- a neuropsychologist, who specialises in brain injuries
- an occupational therapist to identify issues that may be present in daily life, and who can help to identify practical solutions
- a physiotherapist if help is needed with mobility and movement
- a speech and language therapist if communication skills have been affected.
If negligence is responsible for the severity of a person’s injuries, then it may be possible to make a claim for compensation. If you feel that your condition was misdiagnosed, or that the correct tests and treatment were not given, you may have grounds for a claim.
If you have suffered a bereavement that you think could, and should have been prevented with better care, then speak to us.
We know that it cannot make amends for what has happened, but a claim can help to relieve the financial burden and to ensure that the care a patient recovering from encephalitis can be provided.
Established in Manchester in 1997, we are a leading specialist medical negligence law firm acting for claimants throughout England and Wales.
Our expert medical negligence solicitors regularly act for clients across Greater Manchester including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham, and Whitefield.
Our team of recognised Encephalitis Misdiagnosis Claims Solicitors can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.