The Dangers Of A Missed Wernicke Encephalopathy Diagnosis
Wernicke encephalopathy, sometimes called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, is a very serious neurological disorder caused by vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. Many doctors divide Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome into two stages: Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome. Without prompt treatment, Wernicke encephalopathy can cause irreversible brain damage.
Warning Signs Of Wernicke Encephalopathy
Vitamin B1 plays a crucial role in brain function by helping convert sugar into energy for the brain and nervous system. When the body lacks B1, Wernicke encephalopathy can quickly develop and cause the following symptoms:
- Confusion and lack of interest in what is going on around you
- Trouble balancing, standing up and walking
- Weakness in the arms
- Double vision, drooping eyelids or darting eyes
- Elevated heartbeat
- Low blood pressure upon standing
Causes of Wernicke encephalopathy include alcohol abuse, complications from severe illnesses like cancer or AIDS, eating disorders, and kidney and stomach disorders. This disease can quickly transition into Korsakoff Syndrome, which causes memory loss, trouble processing information, difficulty speaking and hallucinations.
The Consequences Of A Missed Diagnosis
It is vital that someone with Wernicke encephalopathy receive a prompt, accurate diagnosis so they can receive the necessary treatment to hopefully head off Korsakoff Syndrome. A doctor who negligently misdiagnoses the patient with something else puts them in grave danger of permanent brain damage. As a result, the patient would likely lose their ability to work, raise their children and live independently. The effect on their quality of life would be profound.
Our attorneys at McKeen & Associates, P.C., understand how misdiagnosis and other forms of medical malpractice can devastate victims and their families in Michigan, Illinois and nationwide. We are one of the leading malpractice law firms for plaintiffs in the region. We will help you hold negligent doctors and hospitals accountable for the harm they allowed you or a loved one to experience.