Wernicke’s treatment simple if caught in time

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Legally reviewed by:
Steven R. Davis and John A. Davis, Jr.
February 20, 2024

Your concern for your loved ones knows no end, especially if they struggle with lifestyle issues that endanger their health. You may have watched your spouse or children making questionable choices that threatened their safety of even their lives. Your concerns may fall on deaf ears when it comes to your family members, but this should not be the case when you bring those concerns to a doctor.
If your loved one began showing signs that something wasn’t right, you may have approached a doctor – or several – for help. To your dismay, the doctor may have dismissed the unusual symptoms as belonging to your loved one’s lifestyle, and not of any treatable illness. Unfortunately, this often happens for victims of Wernicke’s encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
What is Wernicke’s encephalopathy
Wernicke’s encephalopathy occurs when the body lacks thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1. You take B-1 into your body when you eat breads, meat, beans and nuts. Your body needs thiamine for a healthy heart and immune system. B-1 in foods is also thought to provide you with energy. A lack of thiamine places your body at risk of serious health problems, especially neurological issues such as those associated with Wernicke’s encephalopathy, including:

  • Confusion becoming progressively worse
  • Lack of coordination
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Double vision

You can see why this may be difficult for a doctor to diagnose since those who suffer from Wernicke’s encephalopathy are frequently people who abuse alcohol, and some of the symptoms may mirror alcohol use. However, people with other conditions may also suffer from Wernicke’s encephalopathy, such as:

  • Anorexia
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Kidney disease
  • AIDs
  • Malnourishment due to poverty

If your loved one’s Texas doctor dismissed the symptoms or treated the Wernicke’s encephalopathy as a psychological disorder, the disease likely continued to progress into Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and the symptoms may have gotten worse. With Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, your loved one may display a profound memory loss, hallucinations and difficulty forming memories. These conditions are typically permanent. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may eventually lead to death.
Diagnosing Wernicke’s encephalopathy is as simple as observing the signs and running some simple blood tests. Recognizing the symptoms early and diagnosing Wernicke’s encephalopathy as quickly as possible is important for treatment to be effective. In fact, treating Wernicke’s encephalopathy is often as easy as providing B-1 injections and improving your loved one’s diet. A doctor’s delay in providing adequate treatment may have left your loved one with a lifetime of struggle.

John A. Davis, Jr.


John A. Davis, Jr. and Steven R. Davis

February 20 2024

Steven R. Davis and John A. Davis, Jr. are experienced attorneys at Davis & Davis, a law firm that specializes in medical malpractice cases in Texas. With a deep commitment to justice that guides their ethical approach, Davis and Davis have dedicated their careers to helping victims of medical negligence. They and their team continue to advocate for clients, despite the challenges posed by Texas's cap on recoverable damages in malpractice lawsuits. Davis & Davis pride themselves on their extensive experience in the field and their readiness to meet clients across the United States.

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