Over the 25 years I have represented patients injured by medical error at Anapol Schwartz, we have handle a number of cases involving injuries due to the failure to recognize, diagnosis and timely treat malfunctioning ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts. The “typical” care involves the surgical placement of a VP shunt in a child who has developed hydrocephalus (a build up of cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid in the skull which can cause pressure on the brain). Below is a link to a diagram of a shunt.
After the placement of the shunt, the patient is closely monitored for signs and symptoms that the shunt is working properly. There are a number of signs of a malfunctioning shunt:
- IRRITABILITY AND PERSONALITY CHANGES
- DETERIORATION IN PERFORMANCE – school work, gait, balance, and concentration
- LETHARGY AND DROWSINESS
- VISION DISTURBANCES
The most common symptom of shunt malfunction is recurrent headaches. However, any of the above symptoms should prompt evaluation by the treating physicians. In recent a case where there was a delay in treatment of a malfunctioning shunt, the patient’s healthcare providers recognized that her headaches and vomiting were signs of shunt malfunction, but delayed in having her seen by a neurosurgeon. The delay resulted in her developing seizures which caused her to suffer permanent brain injury.
Stephen J. Pokiniewsi, Jr., a member of Anapol Weiss, is known for his exceptional attention to detail as well as his preparation for all aspects of his cases. He focuses his practice on medical malpractice, medical negligence, and personal injury matters. But he is a well-rounded attorney, having secured verdicts in motor-vehicle accident cases, highway design cases, and product liability .