What is Classified as a Medical Brain Injury

What Is Classified As A Medical Brain Injury?1st Feb 2018

by Adrian Cormack on 1st Feb 2018

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What is Classified as a Medical Brain Injury

For you or someone you love a brain injury can have life-changing consequences. The brain, after all, is a very powerful but very delicate supercomputer that will break if mistreated.

It is little wonder that professional sportspeople – especially boxers and rugby players – experience memory loss and other losses of capacity over time.

The simple fact is that it’s surprisingly easy to inflict long-lasting damage to the brain, be it through self-harm, substance misuse, misadventure, the carelessness of others or a medical mistake.

What is a Medical Brain Injury?

Knowing the difference between a medical brain injury and a traumatic brain injury is important. A traumatic brain injury is usually the result of an accident when the head has suffered a direct trauma of some sort.

Traffic collisions, violent assault or a bad fall at work can often cause a traumatic brain injury and may bring with it a lifetime of complications. We are fragile creatures so the potential for a serious injury is significant.

A medical brain injury – as its name suggests – is an injury sustained to the brain whilst in the care of a medical professional. This can be whilst undergoing a procedure, being given the wrong kind of medication or simply through improper treatment before or after an operation – an incorrectly configured ventilator or an injury during the delivery of a baby, for example.

It is also possible – in extreme cases – for a healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) to cause complications after an operation resulting in brain damage or even death.

It’s important to know the difference between one type of injury and another. Someone can still sustain a traumatic brain injury within a clinical setting which wouldn’t be classed as a medical brain injury.

Regardless of the cause, a medical brain injury will usually lead to some form enduring and life-altering impairment or – in the very worst cases – death.

It also constitutes medical negligence.

What to do in the event of a Medical Brain Injury

The NHS works tirelessly to look after everyone who walks through their doors and – in the vast majority of cases – the organisation does an excellent job.

Unfortunately, mistakes do happen and those mistakes can have world-shattering consequences for the individual under the knife.

Although not malicious, there needs to be accountability and reparation.

No one likes the idea of taking the NHS to court, but no amount of good feeling towards the organisation can repair the damage to you or your loved ones, or pay for the support you or they now need in order to lead a normal life.

If a medical brain injury has been sustained then the first thing you can do is make a formal complaint. The NHS has a dedicated complaints handling provision that will investigate and – at the very least – be able to give you more information about what went wrong.

You won’t get any form of compensation via this route although you may get a formal apology.

Although this is small comfort, the information you get resulting from a complaint may prove useful should you choose to take legal action against the hospital in question because your solicitor will have the full picture.

What Next?

If you feel that you or a member of your family has suffered a medical brain injury then you may have grounds for a medical negligence claim.

In the interests of transparency, not every instance of medical negligence is worth taking to court. This may seem incredibly unjust – and you may have a point – but in the same way that we fight for our clients, the NHS’ legal team will do the same.

If your case isn’t strong enough we will be honest with you as the last thing we want is for you to lose and be forced to pay the other side’s legal costs.

Assuming your case is worth taking to court then you need to do so within 3 years of either the incident occurring or when you first realised you had suffered an injury.

You will also need to engage with a reputable solicitor who specialises in medical negligence claims and they will talk you through the entire process and what you need to do to give your case the best chance of success.


If you or a member of your family has suffered as the result of medical negligence let Coles Miller help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our Medical Negligence team to discuss your case today or book a free initial chat.