Locked-In syndrome occurs when an individual suffers from complete paralysis of all of the voluntary muscles in their body. Individuals suffering from locked-in syndrome are fully aware of what is going on around them and do not suffer from limited mental capacity. They simply don’t have the ability to control the muscles that would allow them to communicate voluntarily.
Causes of Locked-In Syndrome
When the vertical pons, a part of the brain stem that relays information to the rest of the brain, is damaged, locked-in syndrome can occur. Pons can be damaged through force, traumatic brain injuries and oxygen deprivation.
Prognosis for Individuals with Locked-In Syndrome
Unfortunately the prognosis for individuals suffering from locked-in syndrome is grim. 90% of all individuals with the diagnosis die within 4 months. There have been exceptional cases of full recoveries but those instances are few and far between.
Living with Locked-In Syndrome
Because there is no cure for locked-in syndrome, most medical care is focused on support and preventing further illness. Someone with locked-in syndrome will be 100% dependent on their caregivers for the rest of their life.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Locked-In syndrome occasionally occurs because a doctor failed to diagnose an underlying medical condition and missed an opportunity to prevent a stroke or other occurrence that caused the damage to the vertical pons in the brain stem. Locked-In syndrome can also occur if an accident or criminal situation caused the damage to the brain stem via trauma. In any of these situations, hiring an attorney can help the victim get the economic support they need for their ongoing medical care.
If your loved one died as a result of locked-in syndrome, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. The circumstances surrounding your loved one’s injury and death will need to be investigated and any responsible parties will need to be identified, but a lawsuit may be appropriate.
If your family member is suffering from locked-in syndrome, or has died as a result of locked-in syndrome, call our office today. We are available to answer your questions and help you choose the best option for your family.