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Legal and Ethical Considerations Surrounding Brain Injuries

Acquired brain injuries often arise as the result of trauma that leads to head injury, stroke or infection or from other medical conditions, with long-term consequences often being difficult to predict and leading to devastating impacts both for those afflicted as well as their families.

Studies reveal that 160,000 individuals experience head injuries each year and that approximately 1.3 million of these injuries result in disability for these victims.

To protect the rights of these individuals, there is a complex legal and ethical landscape surrounding brain injuries. Brain injury solicitors will walk you through every step of the process, from establishing liability and fault to advising on medical decision-making capacity.

Liability in Brain Injuries

Establishing liability is the initial step to filing a brain injury claim, which means determining who was at fault. This could include healthcare workers negligent in providing care or irresponsible drivers on the roads.

As part of their case for medical negligence, solicitors will need to demonstrate that doctors or medical workers breached their duty of care towards a patient.

Proving causation and assigning fault can be the hardest part of legal processes, which is why gathering as much evidence as possible – including specialist medical opinions, photos of injuries sustained during appointments and timelines of past medical history can all prove useful in your claim.

Informed Consent

Healthcare providers have an ethical and legal responsibility to inform patients before conducting diagnostic or procedural tests or procedures on them, however this can become complicated for those suffering a brain injury as they often lack the capacity or awareness of making decisions for themselves; some even remain unconscious due to this injury. Informed consent needs to be obtained prior to beginning any diagnostic testing or procedures on them and this may become challenging depending on its severity.

Medical professionals have a responsibility to respect patient autonomy and should look for alternatives to traditional patient consent. This could involve surrogate decision-making, substituted judgement or seeking advice from the individual’s family and caregivers.

Rights of Individuals with Brain Injuries

Individuals suffering a brain injury have access to all the same ethical rights that apply to all citizens; such as autonomy, dignity and easy healthcare access. But survivors may face unique obstacles in exercising these rights such as discrimination or stigma which prevent accessing healthcare services.

If any of the above symptoms apply to yourself or an injury-sufferer in your family, compensation could be available for claim. While no amount can compensate for what has happened emotionally and mentally, compensation could help cover costs related to lifelong care needed as well as alleviate some financial strain caused.

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Jack Reuben Fletcher

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