When we hear about brain injuries, we typically think of blows to the head, as commonly happen in car accidents, assaults or other severe physical trauma. However, not all brain injuries are caused by a violent external force to the head. Many result from non-traumatic causes, like medical errors, lack of oxygen to the brain, or exposure to toxins.
Non-traumatic brain injuries
Non-traumatic brain injuries, sometimes called acquired brain injuries (ABI), are different from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBIs typically result from a blow or physical trauma to the head. ABIs, on the other hand, occur more internally due to changes or conditions within the body. However, both of these conditions can result in life-threatening or even fatal injuries.
Anoxic and hypoxic brain injuries
Medical professionals classify ABIs into either anoxic or hypoxic brain injuries. An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain suffers a complete lack of oxygen. A hypoxic brain injury occurs when the brain’s oxygen supply is decreased, rather then cut off completely. Without the right amount of oxygen, your brain cells start to die within minutes. And, the longer your brain goes without oxygen, the more widespread the damage can be.
These types of brain injuries can occur through medical issues like stroke or heart attack. They might also occur in dangerous workplace situations with dangerous chemicals, or during emergencies like pool accidents.
Often, negligence or carelessness on the part of another can cause non-traumatic brain injury and severe personal injury. For example, if a homeowner is negligent in securing their pool and a child drowns or suffers injury, the homeowner may be liable.
Acquired brain injuries and medical malpractice
Unfortunately, some acquired brain injuries are caused by medical malpractice. When a medical professional fails to meet the appropriate standard of care, they can cause brain injuries through:
- Failure to properly monitor oxygen levels
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to address labor complications and birth injuries
- Hospital-acquired infections
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
Liability for these types of injuries can fall on hospitals, surgeons, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, nurses and other professionals.
Toxic chemical exposure and brain injuries
Others may experience an acquired brain injury via exposure to toxic chemicals or environmental pollutants, usually on the job. When a person inhales toxins, either in a chemical accident or gradually every day, they can suffer brain damage as well as other serious damage to other bodily systems. Symptoms from brain damage resulting from toxic exposure include headaches, cognitive issues, problems with coordination and motor skills, and tremors.
Even non-traumatic brain injuries can result in severe injuries. If you or a loved one were harmed due to someone else’s negligence, call the personal injuries at Harris Lowry Manton. We’ll protect your rights to compensation and get you the help you need. Set up a consultation at 404-961-7650 at our Atlanta office, in Savannah at 912-651-9967, or fill out our contact form.