The 22 February is ‘World Encephalitis Day’ – Hannah Fitzpatrick discusses Encephalitis Claims.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. It can be caused by an infection spreading to the brain or as a result of the immune system attacking the brain. It can be serious and life threatening, and requires urgent hospital treatment. The Encephalitis Society estimate that there are 6000 diagnoses in the UK alone each year, and in the last 25 years, sadly 3.5 million people across the world have died as a result of the condition.
The early indications of encephalitis are often mild, but become more serious over time. The symptoms depend on the type of encephalitis, for example, symptoms of infectious encephalitis will often include high temperatures, headaches and sickness, and symptoms of autoimmune encephalitis might include confusion and hallucination. When the brain becomes affected, the symptoms can deteriorate, and might include seizures, loss of feeling and loss of consciousness.
The earlier that encephalitis is treated, the more likely it is that a good recovery can be made. Investigations should be carried out as soon as possible – and tests might include lumbar puncture, a CT or MRI scan and blood tests. A variety of treatments are possible – for example, antiviral medications, steroids, painkillers and treatments to control the immune system (such as immunoglobin therapy). Secondary treatments will also be used to treat symptoms, for example fluids to prevent de-hydration and medication to control seizures or fits.
Sadly encephalitis can lead to long term complications including acquired brain injury, where problems might include physical problems, such as with balance, co-ordination and movement, or cognitive problems, such as with memory, speech and language, and emotional difficulties.
Acquired brain injury can be catastrophic, for both the injured person, and their friends and families. Support is likely to be required from a variety of specialists, such as neuropsychologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
How Burnetts Can Help
You may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation if encephalitis has not been treated properly. For example, if there has been a delay, misdiagnosis or inappropriate medical care.
Burnetts have specialist brain injury and medical negligence solicitors, who are accredited by the AvMA and Law Society panels, who can investigate your claim and help secure compensation.
Where admissions are made, we work hard to secure interim payments to assist with accommodation, therapy, aids and equipment and care. We work closely with our Court of Protection Department to support vulnerable clients who need assistance with the management of their affairs. Where someone has sadly died, Burnetts also have expertise in dealing with claims on behalf of the estate of the deceased and any Inquest.
If you would like to speak to someone within our team to discuss whether you may have a clinical negligence claim then please contact our offices on 01228 552222.