My husband died after his brain swelled during surgery in Pikeville, KY. Was there any way the doctors could have prevented his death?

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While doctors may not have been able to prevent the brain from swelling, there are a number of medical procedures that can treat brain swelling before it causes death. The first step in treatment is detecting the problem, which is usually done with an intracerebral pressure (ICP) catheter.

The ICP catheter is a small tube that is surgically implanted into the brain through the skull. The catheter has two main functions:

  • Draining excess fluid from the brain – The catheter is connected to a drainage bag hung on an IV pole to allow doctors to reduce swelling of the brain tissue.
  • Monitoring the pressure inside the skull – The catheter transmits data to the patient’s ICU monitor, alerting doctors and nurses to the pressure inside the patient’s head.

There are a number of ways a medical team can fail to respond to brain swelling. If cranial pressure remains too high for too long, doctors may intervene with additional medications, perform emergency surgery, or check the patient for signs of a blood clot.

On the other hand, doctors may simply fail to read the monitor correctly. The tip of the catheter must be positioned precisely and calibrated regularly for an accurate reading. Contamination of the tip by blood and protein particles can also cause doctors to misread results. For these reasons, it is vital that doctors, nurses, and all members of a patient’s ICU team to be properly trained when treating a serious head injury.

Unfortunately, hospitals rarely disclose when they have made mistakes—even when those mistakes may have led to a patient’s death. The attorneys at Gray and White can investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death from brain swelling in Pikeville KY on your behalf, getting you the answers you need to win your case. Call us today at 888-450-4456 to learn more about how we can help you.