Hypoxic Brain Injuries: The Result of Medical Malpractice

Doctor looking at brain scansOur brains our essential to living a normal life since the brain acts as the command center over our cognition, physical abilities, and emotional and psychological functions. When the brain suffers an injury, a person may suffer from serious impairments that may affect her for the rest of her life. This is why it is such a tragedy when someone suffers a needless brain injury due to medical negligence.

Although rare, the truth of the matter is that medical professionals sometimes act negligently and make critical errors that can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Because the brain needs a constant flow of oxygen in order to perform normally, brain cells can die and brain damage can occur any time there is a diminished amount of oxygen to the brain. One type of brain injury that takes place due to a lack of oxygen is a hypoxic brain injury.

Hypoxic brain injuries are often caused by medical negligence due to surgical errors, medication mistakes, general anesthesia complications, labor and delivery injuries, failure to monitor and treat extremely low blood pressure, intubation errors, and the poor use of heart-lung machines during coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.

What Exactly Is a Hypoxic Brain Injury?

The medical term hypoxic refers to the brain suffering a partial lack of oxygen, whereas an anoxic brain injury refers to a total lack of oxygen. When oxygen is diminished, the brain can suffer serious damage. Any time the brain suffers a lack of oxygen—even if it is just a partial lack of oxygen—brain cells can die within five minutes. And if there is a disruption in oxygen for longer than that period, the result can be seizures, coma, traumatic brain injury, and even death.

Because of the seriousness of a hypoxic brain injury (also known as a cerebral hypoxia), it is critical that victims are treated quickly following any lack of oxygen to the brain. The part of the brain affected and how long a person was without oxygen will determine if someone will be able to recover. Sadly, oxygen deprivation typically causes brain injuries that can lead to a lifetime of impairments and disabilities; however, even if a person recovers from a hypoxic brain injury, this type of injury can still leave a victim with serious impairments.

Life After a Hypoxic Brain Injury

Some of the ways in which a person with a hypoxic brain injury may suffer can include:

  • Cognitive issues. A person with a hypoxic brain injury—even after they have recovered—may have problems reasoning and making decisions, difficulty finding the correct words, and problems with her short-term memory. This can be a major problem when attempting to go back to work because people need to be able to think logically, choose the right words, and recall memories in order to be able to perform most job duties.
  • Physical problems. Even when someone recovers from a hypoxic brain injury, he or she may suffer from weakness in the legs and arms, lack of coordination, decrease in motor control, and spasticity (i.e., trembling, jerky motions, and rigidity). Even brushing one’s own teeth may be impossible to do.
  • Behavioral changes. A person living with a brain injury may suffer from anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Also, sudden outbursts and a lack of control over one’s emotions may occur due to the part of the brain injured.

These impairments can lead to family and marital problems, employment issues, financial concerns and other negative outcomes. People with brain injuries often need rehabilitation, counseling, ongoing medical care, and financial assistance.

When a Hypoxic Brain Injury Occurs From Medical Negligence

When oxygen loss occurs during surgery or from another medical incident, the cause is often medical malpractice. If medical negligence was the cause of your brain injury or a loved one’s brain damage, you need to seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in handling brain injuries and medical malpractice cases.

Living with a serious injury can take a toll on you physically, emotionally, and financially. This is why we fight for our clients. We are focused on obtaining the maximum amount possible. We believe that negligent medical care providers need to be held accountable for the harm they caused their patients. We would be honored to help you. Please fill out a short form to Contact Us today.