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Failure to Diagnose Hydrocephalus

Ocala Lawyers Helping Victims of Medical Malpractice

Hydrocephalus happens if fluid builds up in someone's skull, resulting in the brain swelling and damage. In a child, it can be the result of professional negligence during labor and delivery. If your doctor failed to diagnose hydrocephalus in your child or another loved one, you may be able to recover damages. The Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at the Dean Law Firm are experienced in pursuing damages arising out of negligence leading to birth injuries.

What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus can lead to intellectual, physical and development impairments. It can arise from a birth injury arising out of medical malpractice. It can also be a genetic abnormality or birth defect when the spinal column doesn't close. Sometimes it is the result of rubella.

However, there are also situations in which it arises in adults, such as where cerebrospinal fluid moves through the brain and spinal cord resulting in the amount of fluid increasing. This increase can occur if there is a blockage that stops the fluid from flowing normally, the brain produces excess spinal fluid, or there are fewer blood vessels available to absorb the fluid. When there is too much fluid, it puts the brain under significant pressure and can result in damage.

Older children or toddlers could also develop hydrocephalus as a result of meningitis, head trauma, central nervous system tumors, and for other reasons.

Failure to Diagnose Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus that goes undetected in a newborn can be severe and may impact the rest of his or her life. It's necessary to diagnose and treat hydrocephalus before it becomes so serious that it impacts reasoning, motor function, or cognitive tasks. It is crucial for parents to recognize the symptoms of hydrocephalus and bring a child to the doctor. Likewise, if a doctor notices these symptoms, tests should be initiated to rule out conditions that might cause hydrocephalus.

Symptoms can include high-pitched crying, downward gaze, intense irritability, a bulging fontanelle, fatigue, vomiting, lack of reasoning skills, fatigue, uncontrollable eye movement, uncontrollable muscle spasms, urinary incontinence, and seizures. Over time, hydrocephalus can cause children to have changes in behavior or attitude such as depression or outbursts, or even short-term memory loss.

If hydrocephalus is diagnosed and treated correctly, brain damage can be mitigated or prevented. The treatment is complex and requires drilling a hole into the skull. Catheters, tubes, a pressure activated valve and reservoir system are put inside the head to create a shunt. This siphons away excess fluid and stops pressure from building up. Once pressure gets to a dangerous level, the whole system is supposed to flush out the fluid that has accumulated.

Standards for Medical Malpractice

If your doctor fails to diagnose hydrocephalus in your child, the result may be brain damage. Similarly, if your doctor fails to provide appropriate treatment after diagnosis, this may also be medical malpractice. However, not all mistakes during diagnosis or treatment are actionable; a knowledgeable injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a legal claim. A doctor can be held liable in Florida if you can show: (1) there is a doctor-patient relationship giving rise to a professional duty of care, (2) the doctor deviated from the professional standard of care, (3) the deviation caused injuries to the patient, and (4) actual damages.

Missing a diagnosis of hydrocephalus may be a deviation from the professional standard of care. However, each situation is different. You will need to consult an experienced and credible medical expert about whether there was a breach of the professional duty of care.

A failure to diagnose hydrocephalus can give rise serious losses for the family of the person not diagnosed and treated. A victim is entitled to compensation such as the cost of past and future medical care, loss of income, out of pocket costs, pain and suffering, and the long-term effects of conditions that may have arisen from the breach in professional care.

Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Ocala

At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced trial lawyers know the suffering families experience as a result of a doctor's mistake. If your child has been harmed as a result of a health care provider's failure to diagnose hydrocephalus in Ocala, you may be able to recover damages. We represent patients harmed by acts of medical negligence such as surgical errors, medication errors, and many others, all through Florida, including those in The Villages, Crystal River, and Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or through our online form.