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Timely Treatment Of Subdural Hematoma’s Is Critical – Delays Can Lead To Exacerbation Of Brain Injury And Liability

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As with many injuries, the ability to promptly and effectively respond to a subdural hematoma (“SDH”) is critical to the outcome of a patient.  A SDH is bleeding between your brain and the dura (outer-most layer that covers your brain).  [cite: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intracranial-hematoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20356145]  As there is a finite amount of space in your skull, the bigger the bleed the greater the intrusion into the brain; resulting in a gradual loss of consciousness and possibly death.

A SDH is typically caused by a significant, or even mild, trauma to the head, but they have other causes such as rupture of an aneurysm, vascular malformation, high blood pressure, medical procedures, medications, and particular diseases that cause blood to leak into the brain.  [cite: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intracranial-hematoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20356145; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/247472-overview ]  In order to best determine if one has a SDH, a CT scan, MRI scan, or angiogram is suggested.  [cite: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intracranial-hematoma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356149]

Typically, treatment of a SDH involves surgery because the blood needs to be removed from the skull; a ‘burr hole’ to drain smaller hematomas and a craniotomy – the opening of the skull – for larger ones.  [cite: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intracranial-hematoma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356149]  Moreover, neurosurgeons have stated, “[e]arly surgical intervention is generally imperative for hematomas with significant mass affect.”  [cite: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4323966/]

A significant problem arises with a SDH because the onset of symptoms may not be immediate vis-à-vis the trauma experienced.  Immediate laboratory work and brain imaging is therefore critical when there is a suspected SDH.  [cite: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24363148]  The time from injury to the time of treatment is a significant factor in the overall prognosis of a patient with a SDH.  [cite: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01808822]

A 2011 study showed that patients had decreased mortality when they received a craniotomy within the ‘Golden Hour’ after their trauma.  [cite: https://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Abstract/2011/06000/Reducing_Time_to_Treatment_Decreases_Mortality_of.20.aspx]  Furthermore, patients who are still conscious (i.e, the brain bleed is not yet significant) and receive emergent care do far better that those who have become unconscious.  [cite: https://academic.oup.com/neurosurgery/article-abstract/14/1/22/2744840]  Ergo, treatment should begin once a cause for or symptom of a SDH is identified.

As SDH’S occur in one-third of severe head injuries and have high mortality rates, “the emergent management of acute SDH is critical.”  [cite: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/828005-overview]  No one wants to be in the situation of themselves or a loved one being injured by anything, let alone something as daunting and deadly as a SDH.  The attorneys at Haffner Law have the experience, ability, and knowledge to hold those responsible your injuries accountable.

Should you need an advocate to fight for you or a loved one because of a significant injury like a SDH, Haffner Law attorneys are ready to help.

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