Memory Loss: Another Serious Side Effect of a Brain Injury

Hand erasing a drawing of a brainMemory problems are almost always a result of a brain injury. When someone suffers from a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI), their memory is often impaired. Not only is having memory issues frustrating, but it can be life-changing.

The Importance of One’s Memory

By definition, memory is the ability to recall, keep, and use information. When the brain cannot take in new information or cannot recall old information, one’s memory is impaired. This can dramatically impact someone’s life as well as affect that person’s family.

There are two types of memory that can be impacted following a brain injury:

  1. Short-term memory. Most brain injuries lead to short-term memory problems. Short-term memory is the ability for the brain to remember and store information for a short period of time.
  2. Long-term memory. For most people who suffer head trauma, long-term memory seems to be fine. Long-term memory is the ability to recall information and events that occurred a day, weeks, months, or years prior to their head injury.

In addition to these two types of memory that are impacted following head trauma, brain injury survivors may also suffer from amnesia. This is basically when memories get erased from one’s past. Brain injury survivors may suffer from one of two types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia (events prior to the injury may be lost) and anterior grade amnesia (events that happen after the injury may be erased).

When memory is impacted, every aspect of someone’s life can be affected. Typically, trouble with one’s memory following a brain injury can result in the following problems:

  • Safety concerns. When a brain injury occurs, a person may have difficulties even driving a car or remembering the road rules. Consequently, memory problems may lead to a car crash and further injuries.
  • Work problems. Brain injury survivors usually have problems on the job as memory is needed to learn new tasks, recall certain duties, or remember appointments. When trauma to the brain interferes with one’s ability to perform his or her work correctly, it can lead to a job loss and reduced income. Sadly, losing one’s job can greatly impact one’s finances and emotions, often leading to depression.
  • Issues at home. When someone’s memory is negatively impacted, it is possible to have trouble cooking, doing laundry, taking care of oneself, or even taking care of one’s children. In fact, it can be down-right dangerous. For example, a person may forget a child in the bathtub or start a fire in the kitchen.  As a result, people with brain injuries often need to rely on others around the house for help and may not be able to do the things they did prior to the head trauma.

A person who suffers a brain injury may have difficulties remembering basic procedures—whether at home or at work—because of his memory problems. Memory problems can even make a person forget details of conversations or names of loved ones. And some people with brain injuries even forget their own identity. These effects of brain trauma make it difficult if not impossible for a brain injury victim to return to work or make the same type of income. In fact, some people with brain injuries will never be able to work again.

If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury as a result of medical malpractice, you have rights to hold the doctor, hospital, or other negligent healthcare worker accountable. While it may seem intimidating for you to stand up to a hospital like Inova, it isn’t a concern for a lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice law. To reach an attorney with this experience, please call our law firm for a free consultation 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.