DC Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Malpractice Lawyer

When unusual or unexplained physical symptoms manifest themselves seemingly out of the blue, most everyone relies on emergency or other medical professionals to effectively identify the cause and embark on a targeted course of treatment to correct the problem. In most cases, prompt, appropriate steps are taken to address the issue and prevent additional harm from occurring.

However, there are unfortunately too many instances in which a delayed or missed diagnosis can have devastating consequences, and those involving cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are no exception. When medical negligence of this type happens, it may be necessary for victims to seek the assistance of a CSF leak malpractice attorney.

Fundamentals of Cerebrospinal Fluid

A clear, water-like substance found circulating through the ventricles of the brain, near the brain’s surface and around the spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF fluid) plays an important role in human health.

A leak of this fluid happens when there is a vulnerability of one type or another in the skull or the dura surrounding the spine, allowing the fluid to escape through the ear or the nose. When leaks such as this occur, the body frequently resolves the situation all on its own.

However, if it does not, and surgical or other interventions are not initiated, outcomes can be very serious indeed and can include dangerous swelling of the brain.

Potential Causes and Consequences of CSF Leaks

CSF leaks can develop in a number of ways and are known for producing several symptoms about which medical professionals must remain vigilant. Leaks of this type can develop in the aftermath of pituitary and sinus surgeries, and these generally cause fluid to emerge from the nose. CSF leaking can also arise following therapeutic and diagnostic lumbar punctures or the administration of spinal anesthesia.

So-called “acquired leaks” can happen as a result of tumors, infections or traumatic injuries to the spine and/or head. It is also possible for a patient to present with a spontaneous leak that has developed for no obvious reason.

Though the symptoms of a CSF leak may vary depending on the type of leak that is present, commonly observed hallmarks include:

  • headaches that worsen while patient is upright
  • changes in ability to hear
  • blurred vision
  • nausea
  • numbness of the face
  • tingling of upper extremities
  • neck stiffness
  • ear or nasal drainage

It is incumbent upon all treating professionals to remain highly attuned to the possible existence of CSF leak in patients exhibiting the above symptoms in order to prevent complications including the potentially deadly development and progression of meningitis.

Common Types of CSF Leak Malpractice

Physicians and other medical professionals are required to meet the prevailing standard of medical care when it comes to diagnosing and treating suspected CSF leaks. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for identification of such leaks to be delayed or missed entirely, a circumstance which can cause permanent harm. Acts and omissions on the part of doctors which may give rise to actionable claims of CSF leak medical malpractice may include:

  • failure to conduct nasal fluid analysis
  • failure to conduct a coronal CT cisternogram or MRI
  • failure to order pledget study of nasal leakage
  • failure to take thorough patient history
  • failure to consider need for spinal fluid pressure testing via lumbar puncture
  • lack of proper monitoring following spinal or sinus surgery

Why Consider a CSF Leak Malpractice Lawsuit

Complications arising from a CSF leak can be extremely serious and the lasting consequences profound. For this reason, patients and families who have experienced medical malpractice related to this condition may want to consider filing suit to secure the financial compensation they will need to begin the process of recovery.

It may be possible for plaintiffs in such cases to receive payment for things such as long-term care and treatment, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and in fatal cases, funeral expenses and support for surviving dependents.

Aggressive Advocacy for Victims of Medical Malpractice

Every case of suspected medical malpractice is unique unto itself and requires detailed analysis of medical records, relevant standards of care and more. Thus, it is important for victims and their loved ones to seek the aid of attorneys able to marshal crucial evidence and mount effective legal arguments on their behalf.