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Toronto Aneurysm Lawyer - Medical Malpractice


Ontario medical malpractice law is technical and complex. To succeed in a compensation claim it is essential that you receive legal advice from a specialist lawyer. If you have suffered from a negligently diagnosed or treated brain aneurysm we can help you assert your rights and get the settlement you deserve. Our Toronto lawyers will deal with your claim using a contingency fee arrangement and if you don't receive a settlement then your lawyer who will be based in Toronto won't get paid. If you believe that your Ontario doctor was negligent and you would like advice at no cost then just complete the contact form and a Toronto aneurysm lawyer will telephone with no obligation.

A brain aneurysm is a bulging weak spot on the wall of a brain artery which may form silently from wear and tear or can result from injury, infection or inherited tendency. The most common type is known as a “berry” aneurysm because of its shape which includes a stem. The less common form is an out-pouching of the arterial wall on both sides of the artery which does not have a stem.

Aneurysm - Ruptured Blood Vessel

An aneurysm is a permanent protuberance in a major blood vessel caused by a weakening of the vessel wall. An aneurysm does not necessarily leak blood, but it can easily do so.

A ruptured brain aneurysm occurs as a result of weakness in the wall of one of the veins or arteries supplying blood to the brain and leakage occurs when the blood vessel wall tears due to the pressure of blood. When this happens blood bursts into the surrounding tissues causing damage and injury. The people at greatest risk are those with high blood pressure and those who smoke, particularly the elderly, however hemorrhages may also occur in people with no known risk factors.

A brain aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the wall of a large vein or artery weakens, creating a berry-like bulge which, if not treated, can burst. This affliction is most commonly found in the area medically termed as the “Circle of Willis”, a circle of the major blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

A brain aneurysm is also referred to as cranial or intracranial aneurysm.

Although it is a potentially serious condition, a brain aneurysm does not necessarily mean a medical emergency. A minor weakening of the blood vessel walls in the brain can be successfully treated without permanent brain damage; however, the larger the bulge distends, the more likely a hemorrhage (leak or bleed) becomes.

Causes and Symptoms

One major cause of brain aneurysm is being born with a genetic disposition, which can manifest anytime during the life cycle. However, there are a wide variety of preventable causes including smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and substance abuse like the excessive intake of alcohol (especially binge drinking) and illicit drug use (particularly cocaine).

There are three main conditions of a brain aneurysm:

  • An UNRUPTURED aneurysm – symptoms include persistent pain behind and above one eye, one dilated pupil, double vision and lack of feeling or weakness on one side of the face.

  • A LEAKING aneurysm – the onset of an abrupt and acute headache (and all the symptoms associated with the unruptured state).

  • A RUPTURED aneurysm – a life-threatening condition; the telltale signs of which are the sudden onset of a very severe headache, nauseous episodes including vomiting, a stiff neck, double vision, sensitivity to light, convulsions, one drooping eyelid, unconsciousness or coma.

Aneurysm Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a ruptured brain aneurysm is not straightforward. Many people have a sudden, severe headache which usually persists for more than an hour and is often at the back of the head frequently followed by nausea. In more severe cases there may be a collapse or a fit with loss consciousness. Patients may arrive at the hospital having apparently recovered from a severe headache of sudden onset or at the other end of the spectrum the patient may be in a coma.

Various tests can be carried out to establish the definite diagnosis of a brain aneurysm. Less invasive diagnostic procedures are scans like the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography).

A more interventionist method, but most accurate, is a surgical procedure called a cerebral angiogram or arteriogram. This procedure employs a flexible tube which is inserted into the groin and travels up the arteries to the brain. Dye is injected into the tube and a series of X-rays is taken to establish the exact extent of the aneurysm.

Mis-diagnosis or late diagnosis can give rise to a medical malpractice compensation claim.

There are three types of hemorrhage that are often misdiagnosed :-

  1. Subarachnoid hemorrhage which often appears as a headache and rapidly progresses to a full scale life threatening medical emergency often resulting in coma and death.
  2. Subdural hemorrhage which usually evolves slowly, often after trauma to the head particularly in elderly people.
  3. Extradural hemorrhage which often occurs as a result of a contact sports injury to the head.

Warning Signs

Accident and emergency room doctors should be aware of the numerous warning symptoms may give an indication of a bleed and should not ignore the relatively minor symptoms that sometimes occur. Diagnosis of a ruptured brain aneurysm is often missed by very experienced specialists even though the warning symptoms occur in about 50% of all patients. Medical malpractice may also arise in regard to the treatment which can be negligently performed and if further damage is caused, then a claim for compensation can be made.


The treatment options for a brain aneurysm are usually surgical. Sometimes it can be repaired before it bursts. This is generally accomplished by placing a micro-clip around the base of the berry-shaped protrusion, which repairs the weakness and removes the bulge. An angioplasty is a procedure whereby a small balloon is inflated to dilate the artery and a mesh tube called a “stent” is placed over the weak spot. The most radical form of surgery involves a decompressive craniotomy, during which the surgeon removes part of the skull to relieve pressure, drains excess blood and repairs the damaged blood vessel. Negligent surgery can give rise to a medical malpractice compensation claim.


The prognosis very much depends on the state of the aneurysm when medical assistance was provided. If it was an unruptured aneurysm which was successfully blocked, the chances of making a complete recovery are very good. The same outcome can apply for repaired leaking aneurysm, but the outcome for the more serious condition of a ruptured aneurism is likely to take many months of rehabilitation with varying degrees of return of function.


If you have a known family history of brain aneurysm, the best form of prevention is awareness symptoms and obtaining medical assistance at the first sign of the manifestation of a typical symptom. Otherwise, it is best to control blood pressure and cholesterol abnormalities and avoid binge drinking, smoking, illicit drug use and all the other known causes of the condition.