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Washington, D.C., Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Malpractice Lawyer

Doctors discussing brain scan results of patient.

Any injury that affects your brain or other parts of your central nervous system is cause for concern, as the effects of these injuries are often life-threatening and permanent. Many brain injuries are the result of accidents or physical trauma, but they can also be caused by medical malpractice. In the case of cerebrospinal fluid leaks, a doctor’s negligence could result in brain damage, seizures, difficulty with movement, or even death.

If you have suffered a cerebrospinal fluid leak because of medical malpractice, contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates. As a lawyer with a medical degree, Dr. Michael M. Wilson is uniquely qualified to help victims of medical malpractice recover fair compensation for their injuries. Dr. Wilson has more than 30 years of personal injury experience, as well as a proven track record of settlements and verdicts for his clients. For more information, contact our office today for a free case review.

What Is Cerebrospinal Fluid?

Cerebrospinal fluid, often abbreviated as CSF, is a clear and colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It helps cushion the brain within the skull, supplies nutrients to the brain, helps with brain function, and removes waste products from the brain. The human body produces about 500 ml of CSF every day. It is absorbed quickly, as most people only have about 150 ml of CSF in their system at any given time. If this fluid leaks out of the brain or spine and the leak is not repaired quickly, patients can suffer severe symptoms and, in some cases, may die.

What Can Cause a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

There are cases where people develop CSF leaks spontaneously, but often, these leaks are caused by an accident or negligence. Some common causes of CSF leaks include:

  • Physical trauma to the face, neck, head, or spine, such as from a motor vehicle accident or assault
  • Tumors from certain types of cancer
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • A malfunctioning spinal fluid shunt in the brain
  • Injuries from surgical procedures on the brain or spinal cord
  • Injuries from certain procedures performed on the ear, nose, or throat

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

According to information from the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms of a CSF leak depend on where the leak occurs and other factors. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Clear, colorless fluid draining from the ears or nose
  • Loss of your sense of smell
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Changes in your sense of hearing or hearing loss
  • Being able to hear your own pulse without using a medical device
  • Seizure
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headaches, particularly those that change in intensity depending on your posture
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficult moving or maintaining your balance

How Can a Doctor Misdiagnose a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

One of the things that make CSF leaks so difficult to diagnose is that many of the symptoms are similar to those related to other medical conditions. This means that if a doctor is not actively looking for a CSF leak, they may think your symptoms are related to a different illness. A doctor might misdiagnose a CSF leak as allergies, migraines, or tinnitus if they are not careful. Some of the factors that may cause a doctor to misdiagnose a CSF leak include:

  • Failing to order a CT scan or MRI to check for a CSF leak
  • Failing to order a pledget study of fluid draining from the nose
  • Failing to thoroughly review a patient’s medical history
  • Failing to analyze fluid draining from the nose or ears
  • Failing to test spinal fluid pressure using a spinal tap
  • Lack of proper monitoring following surgery on the brain, spinal cord, or sinuses

What Complications Can Occur If a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Is Misdiagnosed?

Because CSF plays a critical role in keeping the brain healthy and cushioning it from jolts and hard blows, a misdiagnosed CSF leak can have major health consequences for patients. Potential consequences from a misdiagnosed CSF leak include:

  • Swelling of the brain, which can impair brain function and cause death if untreated
  • Debilitating headaches and seizures
  • Difficulty with movement or maintaining balance
  • Bacterial or viral meningitis
  • Changes in your sense of hearing or vision

Is a Misdiagnosed CSF Leak Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is difficult to prove. You must show that a doctor was negligent. You must also show that the doctor’s actions do not line up with what another doctor with similar training and experience would have done in the same situation. That said, doctors should know to check for a CSF leak if they have thoroughly reviewed your symptoms and medical history, especially if you have recently had surgery on your brain or spine. In cases like these, an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be able to show how a misdiagnosed CSF leak was caused by medical malpractice.

brain scan images

What Is a CSF Leak Malpractice Case Worth?

While a CSF leak can have significant long-term effects on your health, it is difficult to say how much a medical malpractice case may be worth until an attorney has a chance to review the facts in your circumstances. With help from the right medical malpractice lawyer, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses related to your injury
  • Lost wages and reduced future earning potential
  • Changes in your quality of life due to your injury
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Contact a Washington, D.C., Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

Just because medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove does not mean you should be denied fair compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates today for a free consultation.

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