Denver Medical Malpractice Coma Attorneys
A coma is a state of deep unconsciousness where a patient is unable to respond to most stimuli, including light, sound, and touch. There are various levels to comas, ranging from no responsiveness to being able to move the eyes. Comas can last for as little as a handful of weeks, but they can also result in permanent vegetative states, as well as brain death. Even when patients come out of comas, there is still the risk they will suffer prolonged damage.
If you or someone you love became comatose due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact a Denver coma lawyer at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. We can use our more than four decades of experience to investigate and determine who caused (or worsened) this condition. There is no charge for an initial consultation, so feel free to call us at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906.
Brain injuries are the most common cause of comas. Blows to the heads, penetrating wounds, and internal trauma can all reduce brain activity and cause a person to slip into a coma. Serious medical situations like hypoxia (not enough oxygen to the brain) can also cause a patent to enter a deep state of unconsciousness. These injuries can occur due to:
- Errors during surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Overmedicating a patient
- Failing to monitor a patient’s blood pressure
- Medically-caused blood-clots and strokes
- Infections such as meningitis and encephalitis
- Failure to evaluate a patient's allergies
- Failure to diagnose internal bleeding or hemorrhage
When a patient enters a coma, it is a medical emergency. Doctors need to determine how deep the coma is, what functions the patient has, and what treatment the patient requires. Most patients require round-the-clock care and need to be placed on ventilators to keep breathing. The costs of maintaining a patient's vitals and health within a coma can severely strain a family's finances.
Compensatory damages are payments awarded to the plaintiff, either, the patient or their family, for losses suffered due to medical malpractice. Generally, there are two types of compensation for these injuries.
- Current and future medical bills that generate from the coma patient's hospital stay and practitioners' treatments.
- Loss of wages from missing work, along with lost earning capacity from the inability to return to a previous job or profession.
Economic damages are quantified and given defined value through evidence.
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment including disfigurement, scarring, and inability to engage in prior activities
- Emotional distress in the forms of shock, grief, and humiliation
- Psychological impairments such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Loss of consortium, including companionship, affection, sexual relations, and moral support from a partner
- Overall inability to enjoy life or resume a normal quality of life
Non-economic damages do not stem from expenses incurred during a coma patient's treatment but are no less valuable to the patient's well-being. These damages are recovered to ease the pain of loss of the intangible parts of the plaintiff's quality of life.
One of the greatest dangers of a coma is that the patient could enter a persistent or permanent vegetative state. Comas can last for between two to four weeks or many years, after which time a patient may recover slowly. Patients who wake up may require physical therapy to regain muscle strength, in addition to cognitive and speech therapy.
However, if the patient does not awaken but enters a vegetative state, he may not be able to respond to any stimuli and require consistent care. Coma patients may appear to smile, blink, or flex muscles, but this may be an automatic response as the higher functions of the brain are not functioning. During this period, medical staffers need to closely monitor the patient's condition and work to prevent bedsores, urinary tract infections, and blood clots. If the coma lasts for more than six months (for non-traumatic brain injuries) or more than 12 months (for traumatic brain injuries), the persistent vegetative state may become permanent.
Patients in permanent vegetative states require care for the rest of their lives, either in a hospital or at home with a live-in nurse. The lifetime costs of these conditions are astronomical. If your loved one entered a coma because of a doctor's mistake, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. You should not be paying for these costs if a doctor is responsible for your loved one's condition.
When a patient remains in a persistent vegetative state from a coma, the body is at risk for further injuries from the inability to move and function freely. These injuries would not be severe for a healthy individual with full cognitive and physical capabilities, but for someone in a coma, these secondary injuries can quickly become life-threatening if they are not monitored and cared for properly.
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood clots
The trickle-down effect of these injuries that a patient can incur during a coma becomes expensive and even catastrophic. It is vital to your case to contact Denver-based medical malpractice attorneys so that Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., can advocate for you in your family's critical time of need.
If a patient entered a coma due to medical negligence, then two groups could file a medical malpractice claim. First, if the patient recovered from the coma, he would be able to file a claim on his own. However, if the patient entered a vegetative state, then his loved ones can file a claim on his behalf.
In both situations, the claimant must prove that:
- A doctor, nurse, or other medical staff member had a duty of care to the patient;
- The medical staff member broke the duty of care through action or inaction; and
- That negligent action or inaction caused the patient to enter a coma or vegetative state.
If this is proven, a coma patient and their family may be eligible for compensation from the hospital's insurer for the damages they have suffered. This can include all medical expenses related to the coma patient's treatment, as well as the coma patient's lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Few things are as devastating to a family as hearing that their loved one has gone into a coma. When a doctor fails to prevent or worsens a patient's condition in a coma, that patient and family deserve to be fully compensated for their losses.
At Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., our Denver medical malpractice attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing patients across the United States who were injured due to medical negligence. We can investigate the details of your case, collect evidence of negligence, and advocate for your best interests. To set up a no-cost initial consultation with a top med mal law firm, call us at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906.