Brain injury can be attributed to many different causes, but no matter what the cause it can drastically alter and change your life. The brain must be safeguarded from injury or trauma. The brain is a spongy, jelly-like substance completely encased within the skull as protection from outside forces. The brain relies on a constant flow of oxygenated blood to keep it healthy and viable. Without the blood supply, the brain would die and so would the person.
Although the brain is the organ that brings the infinite range of colors through the eye, it has no exposure to the outside at all. This complicated and extremely delicate structure is vulnerable to catastrophic injuries and death. It is the obvious center of all human activity, movement, thought and memory. We cannot function very well or much at all without its full use.
Common types of brain injury are anoxic brain injury, hypoxic brain injury, or traumatic brain injury. Anoxic injuries occur when the brain receives no oxygen. Hypoxic injuries occur when the brain receives some oxygen, but not enough. And traumatic injuries occur when a sudden trauma damages the brain.Anoxic Brain Injury and Hypoxic Brain Injury
Cells in brain require oxygen to function and survive. So when they don’t receive any oxygen the brain cells begin to die. Severe anoxic brain damage could result in a coma or a permanent vegetative state. Risk factors include choking, suffocating, heart attacks, heart arrhythmia, strokes, and brain tumors.
The brain is not only at risk when it receives no oxygen, but also if it doesn’t get enough oxygen. This could result in hypoxic brain injury, which typically occurs as a result of respiratory failure or hypotension and can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, shock, or choking.
Symptoms of anoxic or hypoxic brain damage are headache, confusion, decreased concentration or attention span, mood swings and/or personality changes, and occasional loss of consciousness. If your doctor suspects any brain damage they should order a head CT scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or Electroencephalogram (EEG) to determine the extent of the involvement. The longer it takes your doctor to diagnose the anoxic brain injury the longer the problem goes unsolved and the more brain cells you lose. A timely diagnosis is crucial with an anoxic or hypoxic brain injury.
Medical negligence that could cause or contribute to anoxic/hypoxic brain injuries include:
- Anesthesia errors, such as over-administering certain drugs.
- Delay of proper intubation, so that the patient has inadequate oxygen for extended periods.
- Poor nursing monitoring leading to a delay in recognizing oxygen deprivation.
- Delay in cesarean section (c-section) of a baby whose oxygen supply has been cut off.
The brain is a very complex and delicate organ and any traumatic insult can severely disrupt the brain’s function. Common causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls, motor-vehicle accidents, and being struck by an object. Today it has been of great concern the number of professional and non-professional athletes who suffer from some form of traumatic brain injury. These athletes compete in a variety of sports including the obvious like American football, hockey and soccer. It is controversial today as to whether it is safe for children to play contact sports that increase the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury. The injury to the brain can be permanent and debilitating to both the individual and to the family.
In addition to the suddenness of trauma, medical malpractice that can cause or lead to traumatic brain injury as well and can include:
- Brain tumor that goes undiagnosed and untreated.
- Intubated patient who doesn’t receive enough oxygen, or who is extubated.
- Anesthesiology errors during surgery.
- Failure to monitor vital signs and patient status.
- An errant surgical incision into the brain.
- Surgical patient whose cardiac output has been limited or reduced.
Traumatic brain injuries can be prevented if not cured. Always wear a seatbelt when driving a vehicle. Make sure your children are also secured by seatbelts. Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle, scooter or snowmobiling. Wear a helmet when riding horseback or in contact sports.
Use railings when on stairways, boarding a bus or train. Take precautions in the home to protect children and the elderly or infirm from falling.
Brain injuries can be life altering. It is imperative that you have experienced lawyers on your side. With over 40 years of handling brain injury cases, Kreisman Law Offices has the know-how and resources to aggressively handle your birth injury claim and obtain justice for you and your child. Contact our offices at (312) 346-0045 or (800) 583-8002 for an immediate free consultation, or fill out a contact form.