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Hydrocephalus Shunt Lawsuits

Signs and Symptoms of a Shunt Malfunction in Children and Adults

Medical devices, just like the medical professionals who implant them into patients, aren't perfect. Sometimes medical devices such as VP shunts can fail for no clear reason, but that's not always the case. If you or a family member received a VP shunt to treat hydrocephalus and it malfunctioned, you already know just how frightening the situation can be. You may not have received the answers you wanted from the hospital staff about why the shunt didn't work the way it should have, but we may be able to help. At Anapol Schwartz, we have experience handling medical malpractice cases, and we can help you determine whether it's likely that the malfunction was unavoidable or completely preventable. Armed with this knowledge, you'll then be in a better position to decide whether you should pursue your VP shunt lawsuit in court.

What Are the Signs of a Malfunctioning Shunt?

A VP shunt can stop working properly for a variety of reasons. Young children can simply "outgrow" their shunts. Children under the age of two, for instance, will usually need to have their shunts replaced within two years to accommodate the rapid growth that occurs during this time. A blockage or an infection will stop a shunt from working as it should, and kinks in the drainage tubing can also cause a malfunction. Regardless of the cause of the malfunction, the signs and symptoms are similar. They include the following:

  • Persistent headaches
  • An increase in head circumference
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Neck pain
  • Changes in personality
  • Decline in school performance
  • Problems with balance or gait
  • Tiredness
  • Protruding fontanels, commonly known as the "soft spots," in infants
  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Seizures and/or convulsions
  • Problems with vision
  • Dizziness

Any time you experience one or more of these symptoms or observe them in someone else who has a VP shunt, it is essential to get medical attention as soon as possible. Doctors might need to clear the blockage or even remove the shunt and insert a new one to solve the problem. If you suspect medical staff did not perform the procedure correctly and believe that is what caused the malfunction, you might also want to talk to a lawyer. With the help of a medical malpractice attorney, you may be able to get compensation to cover your hospital bills, lost wages and other relevant damages. Contact us at Anapol Schwartz today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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