Oxygen is vital for all brain functions. When the brain is deprived of oxygen for four minutes or longer, an anoxic brain injury may result.
A blow to the head doesn’t typically cause an anoxic brain injury. Instead, it occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long, and neural cells begin to die through apoptosis. Although cell death is normal, a patient may be left with limited brain function or might even die when numerous brain cells die simultaneously. Anoxic brain injuries typically damage the hippocampus of the brain, which is responsible for memory function. As a result, memory problems, sometimes quite severe, are prevalent following cerebral anoxia.
What is the difference between an anoxic brain injury and a traumatic brain injury?
Although they are both types of brain injury, there are significant differences between an anoxic brain injury and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury usually results from a sharp blow that jerks the head back and forth, causing the brain to hit against the inside of the skull and impact its function. However, an anoxic brain injury is damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain for a few minutes or more.
What causes an anoxic brain injury?
Some of the most common causes of anoxic brain injury include:
- Oxygen deprivation at birth
- Traumatic attack or assault
- Transient ischemic attack (i.e., mini-stroke)
- Anaphylactic shock
- An opioid overdose
- A sudden blow, and
- Carbon monoxide poisoning.
Some symptoms of anoxic brain injury include depression or anxiety, tingling or numbness of the limbs, nausea or vomiting, severe headaches, personality or behavioral changes, and memory loss.
Although full recovery from a severe anoxic brain injury is rare, with the proper medical attention – counseling, occupational and physical therapy – it is possible to recover from a mild anoxic brain injury. However, it could take an extended period of time. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first six months; the likely outcome will become apparent by one year after the injury event. The healing process will consist of rewriting the parts of the brain that were damaged due to the injury to minimize the damage and manage the symptoms.
Can I sue for an anoxic brain injury?
If one person sustained an anoxic brain injury due to another person’s negligence, they might be able to sue for damages, depending on the circumstances of the injury. For example, an automobile accident that causes someone to become stuck underneath something that cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain can lead to an anoxic brain injury, as can a slip and fall incident that results in a landing that chokes or suffocates a person.
Brain damage can also be caused by a medical mistake. For example, if a medical procedure went wrong, a doctor failed to diagnose an impending stroke or some other medical emergency, or complications occurred in childbirth, and anoxic brain injury is the result, actions or inactions on the part of those involved could provide grounds to sue doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, or hospitals for medical malpractice.
Did another person’s negligence cause you or someone you love to sustain an anoxic brain injury? The lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have a reputation for obtaining fair outcomes for those who sustain brain injuries. To speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, call us in Savannah at 912-417-3774, in Atlanta at 404-998-8847, or complete our contact form to set up a free and confidential consultation today. We want to help.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
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