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Hyponatremic Encephalopathy

Texas Attorney Experienced in Hyponatremia Medical Malpractice Cases

Attorney John Millard, of the Law Office of John Millard, P.C., has extensive experience handling cases involving injury from hyponatremia and hyponatremic encephalopathy. With more than 20 years of experience handling medical negligence claims, he has gained a special proficiency in such cases, and can help people throughout the United States who have suffered from the condition.

WHAT IS HYPONATREMIA?

Hyponatremia is an "electrolyte imbalance," meaning that the level of sodium in the blood drops below 135 (with the normal range usually being 135-145). It is one of the most common electrolyte abnormalities seen in a general hospital population today and is generally a benign condition. But when patients manifest central nervous system symptoms of "hyponatremic encephalopathy", immediate therapy is required if death or permanent brain damage is to be prevented.

The most dangerous cause of hyponatremia is postoperative hyponatremia, which is a frequent complication among adults following any kind of surgery. Symptoms of hyponatremic encephalopathy are related to the swelling of the brain, and include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Delusions

Once symptomatic, hyponatremia can rapidly progress to the point of brain herniation, respiratory failure, brain damage and even death. But hyponatremia is virtually 100% reversible if recognized and treated promptly and appropriately. Numerous studies have shown that prompt and appropriate treatment can result in complete reversal without any adverse affects for the patient.

Many physicians simply do not appreciate the danger of low sodium in the blood, and therefore it often goes untreated. Respiratory arrest usually ensues, and then no treatment can reverse brain damage or prevent death.

Every postoperative patient should be considered at risk for the development of hyponatremia, and appropriate preventative measures should be taken. Correct treatment includes avoiding hypotonic fluids, administering hypertonic sodium chloride using an infusion pump, and monitoring blood sodium levels every 2 hours until the patient becomes neurologically stable.

IMPROPER TREATMENT OF HYPONATREMIA

The consequences of improper treatment of hyponatremic encephalopathy can be just as devastating. Hyponatremia is often treated as dehydration with a recommendation to drink water frequently, merely causing water intoxication, throwing of the balance of sodium and water off even further, and worsening the condition.

Treatment should be instituted with caution because overly rapid correction of hyponatremic encephalopathy may lead to severe and permanent brain damage. The aim of treatment should be to increase the serum sodium slowly over an extended period of time. Treatment with hypertonic fluids, or too rapid correction of the condition, can cause a complication called "central pontine myelinolysis ", which results in severe irreversible brain damage.

A WINNING STRATEGY

At the Law Office of John Millard, P.C., we have a proven winning strategy for bringing these cases to justice. We retain honest, qualified doctors to assist us in evaluating claims. Our lawyer carefully evaluates each claim and takes only cases with merit and significant injuries.

We rely on peer-reviewed medical articles from the leading medical journals to educate about hyponatremic encephalopathy, and avoidance of brain damage and death. Our lawyer has an expansive knowledge of current peer-reviewed medical literature regarding hyponatremia and hyponatremic encephalopathy.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one wishes to mount a medical malpractice lawsuit involving untreated or improperly treated hyponatremic encephalopathy, then contact us for a free initial consultation with our lawyer.

Our law firm helps clients throughout the United States, with many clients living near our home town of Sugar Land, Texas, in communities such as Fort Bend County, Richmond, Rosenberg, Houston, Harris County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and more.