Wernicke's Encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome Following Bariatric or Gastrointestinal Surgery

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Representing Patients in the Atlanta Area

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat Wernicke's encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, you need to reach out to an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer who can help you bring a claim. With over two decades of experience, Attorney Charles McAleer and his colleagues are ready to vigorously advocate for your rights at every step of the way. We have helped many Georgia residents recover the compensation that they deserve for harm caused by negligent doctors, and we can help you as well.

Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Wernicke’s Encephalopathy

Wernicke's encephalopathy is a brain disorder that results from a vitamin B1, or thiamine, deficiency. The syndrome is actually two separate conditions that occur at the same time, Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE) and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). Typically, people get the symptoms of WE first, which lead to WKS. Some believe that WE is the initial onset phase, while WKS is the long-term state.

WE generally involves various cognitive and nervous system changes, such as eye or vision problems, confusion, and difficulty walking. As mentioned earlier, it is caused by a thiamine deficiency in the body. All of the cells of the body require thiamine. Since human beings cannot make it, it must come from their diet. The most important role of thiamine is to convert into fuel that the body can use to produce energy. Alcoholism or chronic alcohol abuse is the most common cause of WE, but it can also be caused by poor nutrition or other conditions that cause food not to be absorbed properly (malabsorption). When not diagnosed and treated early, the condition can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

Symptoms of WKS may include memory loss, confusion, exaggerated storytelling, changes to the eyes, and problems doing day-to-day tasks. A person with WKS may undergo personality changes and experience serious staggering, stumbling, and even apathy. As WKS symptoms increase, WE symptoms tend to subside.

Doctors have an obligation to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of thiamine deficiency. In certain situations, such as before or after a patient is admitted for medical treatment (especially gastrointestinal surgery or bariatric surgery), patients may be at higher risk for such a deficiency. Doctors should be especially vigilant at these times, or a patient can suffer harm. Just because there has been a poor outcome, however, does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice took place. Instead, medical malpractice occurs when there is an act or omission by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted standards of practice in the medical community, and that deviation directly causes injuries to the patient.

In every Georgia medical malpractice case, the burden of proving that a medical professional was negligent is on the plaintiff (the party filing the claim). When deciding the case, the judge or jury will weigh the evidence presented by each party’s attorneys and make a decision based on the more convincing evidence. This standard is known as the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. In short, the party who has the more substantial and probable proof will win.

Medical malpractice claims in Georgia must be filed within a certain time frame, known as the statute of limitations. Typically, a plaintiff has two years from the time of the injury to file a claim in civil court. If the symptoms did not arise immediately, the clock will begin to run based on the reasonable amount of time in which the injury should have been discovered. Once the statute of limitations expires, you probably will no longer be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit.

Retain a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in the Atlanta Region

If you or someone close to you has been harmed due to a medical professional’s failure to properly recognize or treat Wernicke’s encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At McAleer Law, our seasoned Atlanta attorneys have the experience and knowledge to effectively advocate for your rights throughout the entire legal process. We proudly take on clients from cities such as Atlanta, Alpharetta, Conyers, Decatur, Gainesville, Lawrenceville, Macon, Norcross, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Stone Mountain. To speak to us about a potential medical malpractice or birth injury case in more detail, do not hesitate to call 404-622-5337 or contact us online.

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