Anoxic Brain Injury—A Result of Medical Malpractice

MRI images of brainsWhether mild, moderate, or severe, the results of a brain injury are never good. Some brain injuries are due to being struck in a car accident or the result of a slip and fall incident. However, certain brain injuries can occur due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. When the brain is prevented from receiving the oxygen it so desperately needs, brain damage is the result.

Understanding Anoxic Brain Injury

The brain is the command center of the body. Through its neurotransmitters, the brain sends messages to the body, controlling and producing hormones and regulating body functions. When the neurons die, this chain of sending and receiving messages is disrupted, thus preventing the body from functioning normally.

One of the primary causes of brain cell death is a lack of oxygen. Brain cells that receive low levels of oxygen for only four minutes begin to die. According to the Brain Injury Foundation, after five minutes with little to no oxygen, permanent brain damage occurs. Anoxic brain injury is the medical term describing the damage that happens when the brain does not get the oxygen it needs. When an anoxic brain injury occurs, it is caused from a total lack of oxygen, which can cause permanent disabilities and/or death.

What Are the Effects of Anoxia?

Some common effects those with anoxic brain injuries may experience includes:

Cognitive Issues

  • Indecisiveness and difficulty in making judgement calls and reasoning
  • Inability to multitask
  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Difficulty processing verbal language

Physical Issues

  • Lack of coordination
  • Compromised muscle movements—stiff muscles, involuntary movements, trembling
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Headaches
  • Vision impairment

Emotional Issues

  • Depression
  • Personality differences
  • Increased irritability
  • Delusions

The severity of symptoms depends on what area of the brain was affected and how long the person suffered a lack of oxygen. The brain injury causes damage that can range from mild to severe.

How Anoxic Brain Injuries Occur From Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice or negligence by medical professionals can lead to a lack of oxygen to brain. Some of the ways in which an anoxic brain injury can occur in a medical setting include:

  • General anesthesia complications
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication mistakes
  • Compression of the trachea
  • Failure to monitor and treat very low blood pressure
  • Labor and delivery and childbirth errors

When anoxia occurs at the hands of negligent medical professionals, lives are forever changed. Sadly, anoxia is even experienced by babies during the birthing process.

How Do Babies Suffer From Anoxia?

Babies can experience anoxia before, during, or after birth. In many cases, brain damage occurs due to the lack of oxygen reaching the infant’s brain during the birthing process. Medical professionals who are negligent or inexperienced may not recognize that the infant is in distress, delaying the birthing process and increasing the length of time that the baby is lacking oxygen. This leads to what is commonly referred to as cerebral palsy. Those diagnosed with cerebral palsy suffer from a lack of muscle control and mobility, lack of coordination, and/or speech and hearing deficits.

The Reality of Anoxia

While those who experience severe brain damage may never recover, various therapies are available in some cases but it depends on the part of the brain injured and how long the brain was without oxygen. Counseling is also recommended for those who have suffered an anoxic brain injury, as well as for their caregivers.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of anoxic brain injury, you will likely need financial compensation for your ongoing care. Compensation can include money for your medical bills, loss of income, and loss of independence, as well as for mental and emotional damages. We would be honored to help you make the maximum possible recovery. Please call our law office at (703) 591-0067 or order a free copy of our book, Do I Have a Case? A Patient’s Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.