Medical Negligence Claims | The Loss of Olfactory and Gustatory System


Medical negligence can affect the loss of olfactory and gustatory systems. In simple terms, a mistake made by your doctor can end up in you losing your sense of smell or taste. Officially, the loss of taste is defined by the term Ageusia, whereas the loss of smell is defined by the term Anosmia.

True Ageusia is rarer in contrast to Hypogeusia, which is a partial loss of taste, as well as Dysgeusia, which is a distortion of taste. Similarly, Anosmia can also be complete or partial. However, when you lose your sense of smell, you are still able to experience certain flavours, such as saltiness, sourness, bitterness and sweetness. This is because the taste of these flavours can be identified by the taste bud present on the tongue, instead of the brain. In some situations, such as complications in surgeries, Ageusia and Anosmia can occur together. However, these conditions can also occur independently. 

Although there are several causes behind Anosmia, the condition can be brought out by medical negligence. If an individual demonstrates symptoms for Anosmia, it is imperative to make a doctor’s appointment. In case the doctor fails to carry out proper tests, which ultimately worsens the condition, you can make a medical negligence claim to receive compensation. However, medical negligence claims can also be made if the cause of the condition is attributed to reckless or negligent behaviour during the surgical treatment.

The causes of Anosmia and Ageusia 

There are several medical causes that lead to the development of Anosmia and Ageusia. However, to make a medical negligence claim, your case would be relevant if the condition onsets after complications from surgery following a traumatic brain injury or a nasal passage injury. 

Brain Injuries 

Medical negligence cases can be submitted if the surgery following a traumatic brain injury resulted in the loss of taste and the loss of smell. However, the claim would only be credible if the risk could have been easily avoided. 

In brain injury surgeries, the loss of the olfactory and gustatory system is observed due to the shortage of oxygen in the brain or a negligent surgical approach. You can make a medical negligence claim in the ensuing cases: 

  • The risk could have been avoided. 
  • The surgeon was in an intoxicated state while performing the procedure
  • The procedure was carried out without your consent or the consent of a legal guardian
  • There was a delay in treatment for medical problems, such as stroke, brain haemorrhage, meningitis and other conditions which can lead to the loss of certain senses. 
  • The doctor prescribed unfitting medications, whose side effect resulted in the loss of smell and taste. 
  • There was a delay in the diagnosis of a brain injury after an accident
  • The loss of taste and smell was overlooked after a traumatic brain injury

Nasal Passage Injury 

The conditions of Anosmia and Ageusia can also be caused by suffering damage to the nasal passages, particularly, the nerves surrounding the nose and mouth. In this situation, you can make a medical negligence claim in the ensuing cases: 

  • There was a failure to carry out standard tests following a nasal injury
  • There was a delay in treatment
  • The doctor prescribed the wrong medication
  • The risk could have been avoided with early treatment. 

Common Types of Medical Negligence Claims 

Typically, medical negligence claims that relate to the loss of smell and taste are submitted in case the onset of the condition is followed by surgical or dental procedures. 

Surgical procedures

Anosmia anf Ageusia is often experienced following an invasive Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery. These conditions result from the damage to the nerves situated around the mouth and nasal regions, which ultimately influences the loss of smell. Another case of negligence is observed when the patient has an allergic reaction under the influence of the anaesthetic. The most common surgical procedures that cause the loss of smell and taste are nasal obstructions, sleep apnoea procedures, rhinoplasty, along with sinus surgery. 

These injuries comprise of the following: 

  • Anosmia caused due to the surgical damage to the nasal receptors 
  • Postponement by the medical institutions in the diagnosis or treatment of sinus or nasal tumours. 
  • Postponement by the medical institutions to accurately treat the nasal fractures. 

Dental procedures 

Medical negligence in dental procedures can further result in the loss of smell and hearing. Ageusia takes place if the nerves around the tongue are damaged during the surgical procedures. Moreover, the loss of smell or taste can also be facilitated by inappropriate placement of dental implants into the sinus, or due to the postponement in removing the implant from the sinus. 

How can a medical negligence solicitor assist you?

If you have experienced medical negligence that led to Anosmia or Aguesia, you can contact the No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitors in Scotland, who can present your case with credible evidence. You can schedule a consultation session to discuss the particulars regarding your claim. 


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