The most common cause of a subarachnoid haemorrhage is trauma, however, it can also occur due to an aneurysm which forms on one of the major arteries supplying the brain. An aneurysm is kind of blood blisters that forms at vascular junctions which gradually expands until such time as it bursts. The pressure in the brain gradually but it is the temporary cessation of blood flow to the brain that causes brain damage.
The damage can take many forms, but even when it is slight, the patient can be left with cognitive difficulties including short term memory loss and psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The presenting complaints when a patient attends the hospital is usually a sudden severe headache, neck stiffness and photophobia (light hurting the eyes) when any patient presents to their local hospital with these symptoms the doctors should immediately suspect a subarachnoid haemorrhage as a failure to suspect and diagnose same can have disastrous consequences. Should a second haemorrhage occur it can most often be fatal. Therefore, it is so important that an early diagnosis is made and appropriate treatment given. Radiological investigations such as CT scans must be requested as a matter of urgency. Usually, if the CT scan is negative in a patient with acute severe headaches, then a lumbar puncture is mandatory to exclude both subarachnoid haemorrhage and meningitis.
What amounts to a medical negligence claim for subarachnoid haemorrhage?
Medical negligence claims arise in relation to subarachnoid haemorrhage due to the failure to identify the importance of the presenting complaints and failure to request an urgent CT and failure to appropriately identify on the CT scan or to act upon the results of the CT scan with the required urgency.
Medical mistakes in diagnosing and treating subarachnoid haemorrhage will always present with major consequences for the patient and may even result in fatality.
A typical subarachnoid haemorrhage claim will involve the following steps:
- We will investigate every minute detail of your case and from there we will build your case by obtaining all of your medical records, taking full witness account from you and we will consultant the best experts in their field to give an opinion on whether negligence arose in your care or treatment.
- We will contact the relevant hospital or doctor advising them that we believe there was negligence in your care and treatment and asking them to admit liability.
- We will serve proceedings on the relevant medical institution or doctor and ensure that they reply to your claim in a timely manner with full details of any defence that they wish to make.
- We will represent your claim in the courts robustly to secure the appropriate level of compensation for your injuries.
Our experienced team will assist you in reviewing your medical records to identify if an error occurred. We will instruct experts who are the best in their field to provide an opinion on whether the treatment you received was negligent or not and we will progress your claim through the courts with skill, experience and knowledge and robustly represent your case so we can secure the best compensation for you or your loved one.
Our experience in subarachnoid haemorrhage medical negligence:
Our experienced team at McElhinney & Associates Solicitors have worked on various types of subarachnoid haemorrhage claims over the years ranging from the simple to the most complex. We have developed an expertise in the area and so we know how to prepare and progress your claim to achieve the optimum level of compensation.
What will the likely level of compensation I will receive?
The level of compensation payable to you is directly related to the level of injury and trauma that you suffered together with the impact that the negligent treatment has had on your quality of life. Compensation is usually broken down into two parts:
- General damages. This is compensation for the pain and suffering that you have endured to date together with the likely pain and suffering that you will endure into the future.
- Special damages. These are items of expenditure and financial loss that you have incurred up to the date of the court award and possible likely future financial losses, for example, the cost of any private treatment, medication, aids and appliances, loss of earnings to date, loss of earnings into the future, the cost of any ongoing care and treatment required.
If however, your loved one has sadly passed away as a result of a failure to diagnose a subarachnoid haemorrhage, then the claim will proceed as a Fatal Claim.
How long do you have to make a claim:
Any person who wishes to pursue a claim for medical negligence through the courts must do so within 2 years of the mistake being made or 2 years that they had knowledge that a mistake was made.
If your loved one has passed then the matter proceeds as a fatal injury claim and the time limits differ.
Once proceedings are issued the case can take approximately, 2-3 years to come before the courts for hearing, depending on the complexity of the case, the number of experts that are required together with the defence delivered by the healthcare provider to your claim.
Early legal assistance can be vital as the time limits for bringing an action are very strict, therefore, if you believe that you have suffered as a result of substandard medical care then you may be able to make a claim for compensation against the hospital in question and we are happy to have an initial consultation with you where we will give you an initial assessment and advise you of your options.