Anoxic brain injuries are different from others, as they are not caused by a blow to the head. Instead, anoxic brain injuries occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long. Oxygen is vital for the human body to function, and without it for even a scant few minutes, the human body will begin to shut down. Even if oxygen can be restored to the brain, there still may be damage, resulting in permanent or temporary loss of memory or motor functions.
If you or a family member has experienced permanent injury or death due to an anoxic brain injury because of medical negligence, you may need a lawyer to ensure you get compensated for this devastating injury. The Pennsylvania-based lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt are trained and experienced in cases just like yours, and our lawyers can help you get justice for you or your family member’s wrongful injury.
How and When Can Anoxic Brain Injuries Occur?
Anoxic brain injures can occur whenever the brain is prevented from receiving enough oxygen. When a cell does not receive enough oxygen, it dies—a process called apoptosis. While cell death is a natural part of life, having mass cells die off in the brain due to lack of oxygen can quickly diminish brain function. As an individual’s oxygen continues to deplete, eventually death will occur; however, with oxygen supply re-established the person’s life can be saved.
Anoxic brain injuries can occur in several ways, including but not limited to:
- Birth-related injuries, for instance, when the baby’s neck is wrapped in its umbilical cord
- Strokes, where the subject may be unable to breathe
- Anaphylactic shock when the air passage and throat close
- A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke
- Improper vomiting, where vomit cannot be ejected and is instead swallowed
- Overdoses causing airway closure
- Blows or injuries to the neck that prevent proper airflow through puncturing or swelling
Symptoms of Anoxic Brain Injury
When it comes to anoxic brain injuries, symptoms can vary widely, but if you’re handling a victim that has just begun receiving oxygen again, immediate symptoms might include:
- Wooziness or extreme dizziness
- Numbness in the extremities
- Intense headaches
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- General sense of confusion
- Sudden loss of reasoning
- Weakness of body
In the long term, there can be many more issues that afflict someone who experienced anoxia. Each case may be different from the last, and it is impossible to tell by looking at someone what areas of the brain have been depleted most. For example, if an individual loses a lot of brain cells in the parts of the brain that control speech, they may have difficulty speaking, understanding others, and remembering specific words. However, there can be a wide range of consequences that occur because of anoxia. These commonly include:
- New phobias or passions
- Frequently occurring headaches
- Sudden unexplainable limb pain
- Loss of movement in limbs
- Trouble recalling memories (both long- and short-term)
- Extreme changes in behavior
- Changes in personality
- Difficulty remembering family, close friends, and pets
- Sudden onset depression
- Extreme anxiety where the person was not previously anxious
Types of Anoxic Injuries
While anoxia leads to oxygen deprivation, doctors classify anoxic brain injuries into four major categories. They are as follows:
Diffuse cerebral hypoxia. Diffuse cerebral hypoxia is a mild injury. This injury is caused by low levels of low blood-oxygen levels and is associated with lesser amounts of brain functioning impairment.
Focal cerebral ischemia. This kind of anoxia injury is most commonly associated with strokes. It occurs when only one area of the brain is damaged by oxygen loss, and the rest of the brain is left undamaged by cell die-off.
Global cerebral ischemia. Global cerebral ischemia happens when the entire “globe” of the brain has both blood flow and oxygen cut off for an extended time. When this occurs, it comes with catastrophic damage.
Cerebral infarction. This occurs often during strokes when several regions of the brain are deprived of oxygen and are also associated with terrible consequences to the person’s life.
When to Contact an Experienced Pennsylvanian Lawyer for An Anoxic Brain Injury
If a medical practitioner or some other body or business is responsible for you or a loved one’s anoxic brain injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them for the money you need to cover your medical bills and expenses. You may need new equipment, have to change your home and lifestyle, or you may even need to make adjustments to your vehicle to care for someone with severe complications after recovering from an anoxic brain injury. McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can represent you with an anoxic brain injury lawyer.
Hold those who are responsible for injuring you or a loved one accountable. Contact us, or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.