Encephalitis — the medical term for brain inflammation — produces a variety of physical and neurological symptoms. Without treatment, it can lead to fatal complications or cause permanent brain damage. As such, the key to treating encephalitis is early detection. However, when doctors misdiagnose the condition, they lose precious time to monitor and treat its symptoms.
Our law firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and options with an experienced attorney. Call (561) 556-7873 today to schedule an appointment with a West Palm Beach encephalitis misdiagnosis lawyer.
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How Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help With an Encephalitis Misdiagnosis Claim in West Palm Beach, FL
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers was founded in 1996 with the intent of helping people throughout West Palm Beach, Florida, pursue compensation from the people responsible for their injuries. Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer has over 28 years of experience standing up to healthcare providers and their insurers.
If you suffer an injury due to a medical professional’s negligent actions, such as a misdiagnosis, our firm will provide you with the following:
- A free evaluation of your case to assess your claims and explain your rights
- A thorough examination of your medical records and other evidence
- Aggressive negotiations with insurers to try to resolve your claim fairly
- A relentless litigator to pursue insurers and at-fault parties who won’t settle
Medical errors – including misdiagnosis – can cut a patient’s life short or lead to permanent disabilities. Do not hesitate to contact our West Palm Beach encephalitis misdiagnosis attorney for a free consultation. We’ll discuss the misdiagnosis you or a loved one experienced and the compensation available for its consequences under Florida law.
Is Encephalitis a Common Condition?
Cases of encephalitis fall into two classes. The first, infectious encephalitis, happens when a pathogen causes the brain to swell. Most cases involve a virus, but bacteria, parasites, and fungi can also cause brain inflammation.
Some viruses that cause encephalitis include the following:
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Patients can also experience encephalitis after being infected by mosquito or tick-borne viruses such as dengue or West Nile virus.
The second kind of encephalitis, autoimmune encephalitis, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the brain. Autoimmune encephalitis frequently occurs in patients with pre-existing autoimmune diseases, but not always.
Encephalitis is, thankfully, rare; according to one study, doctors in the U.S. only see about 20,000 viral encephalitis cases per year. Autoimmune encephalitis is similarly rare, but its numbers have risen given the general increase in the number of people with autoimmune disorders.
How Does an Encephalitis Misdiagnosis Occur?
Although encephalitis is rare, it can still lead to severe consequences, so it is crucial to have the condition properly diagnosed as soon as possible.
That said, an encephalitis misdiagnosis can happen in several ways, such as:
Medical Provider Incompetence
A doctor must recognize and connect the patient’s symptoms to encephalitis.
Some symptoms that may lead a doctor to suspect the condition include the following:
- Neck stiffness
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Changes in personality
- Hearing loss
However, as many conditions can cause these symptoms, doctors should also order tests to assist in the diagnosis of viral encephalitis, such as a blood test or spinal tap.
They should also ask questions, such as the following:
- Have you traveled recently, particularly to tropical locations?
- Were you recently bitten by insects or animals?
- Did you recently contract or recover from a known virus or infection?
- Do you have an auto-immune disorder?
Armed with the information they have collected, a competent healthcare provider may diagnose the condition. A misdiagnosis might arise when a doctor fails to take any of the above measures.
As a result, the patient might suffer long-term complications such as permanent brain damage that produces mobility, sensory, or cognitive problems. In roughly 10% of cases, patients die from encephalitis.
When a patient suffers adverse outcomes as a result of a doctor’s unreasonable error, the misdiagnosis might form the grounds for a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. Lawyers must prove that the healthcare provider failed to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent provider in the same circumstances to win.
Aside from a doctor’s failures, misdiagnoses can result from record mixups. For example, if a hospital staff member records a patient’s symptoms incorrectly or puts their notes into the wrong file, a doctor might not have the full picture when forming a diagnosis. In such a case, you might have a claim against the hospital.
Laboratory mistakes can also lead to a misdiagnosis. In the case of encephalitis, a lab test that incorrectly fails to identify the presence of a virus in the patient’s sample might mislead a doctor into making an incorrect diagnosis. Should that happen, you might have a claim against the lab.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Attorney To Discuss Your Encephalitis Misdiagnosis
Diagnostic errors can expose patients to unnecessary suffering, permanent disabilities, and even shortened lifespans.
Contact Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the misdiagnosis you or a loved one received and how we can help recover financial compensation for the effects of the doctor’s error.