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Today is World Encephalitis Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of this terrible disease.

Nicola Wainwright, partner in the medical negligence department at Leigh Day talks about her experience

Baby in incubator
Nicola Wainwright is a partner in Leigh Day's clinical negligence team. She deals with a wide range of claims involving different types of negligence and injuries. Follow Nicola on Twitter @NicWwright
I hope that by helping the charity, The Encephalitis Society, raise awareness today people learn about encephalitis and its symptoms and the difficulties it can cause.

Information from the charity suggests 8 out of 10 people do not know what encephalitis is. I believe this needs to change so that patients can seek treatment quickly if they think they may be suffering from it and health professionals recognise the need to consider encephalitis as a possibility when they assess patients with presents with symptoms.’ 

Infectious Encephalitis often begins as a flu like illness or headache and is followed by an alteration in the level of consciousness. It can cause a high temperature and seizures. Other symptoms include an aversion to bright lights, inability to speak or control movement, sensory changes, neck stiffness and uncharacteristic behaviour.

Autoimmune Encephalitis often causes confusion, altered personality or behaviour, psychosis, movement disorders, seizures, hallucinations, memory loss and sleep disturbances.

Leigh Day acts for several clients who have been left with severe injuries, partly because their illness wasn't diagnosed quickly enough. 

For example, we acted on behalf of Tom who suffered herpes Encephalitis shortly after he was born.  

He had been left unable to walk, talk clearly or look after himself and therefore continues to require round the clock care for the rest of his life.

We successfully fought a legal action resulting in Tom and his family receiving a settlement which will ensure for all Tom’s future care needs.  

Nicola says, “Tom’s case demonstrates the importance of spotting the signs of encephalitis early and getting treatment promptly. Tom's life could be very different now if the hospital staff had recognised the early concerning signs he was displaying and given him treatment.

“As well as providing support to sufferers and their families The Encephalitis Society provides excellent information about the disease including its symptoms and the effect it has. 

“We are proud to work with them and to support them, especially today on World Encephalitis Day to help to raise awareness of this horrible disease.  

“We hope that by working together we can help ensure the earlier suspicion, diagnosis and treatment of encephalitis, and we will hopefully see fewer clients like Tom, who have been left severely permanently disabled as a result of this terrible disease”.  

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