Anoxic Brain Injury – What You Need to Know

The brain is an amazing part of the body, controlling all aspects of how our bodies function, as well as holding our memories, thoughts, and feelings. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, however, brain cells can start to die after just four minutes. Anoxic brain damage is the injury that occurs due to a lack of oxygen and causes cognitive impairment throughout the brain.

Anoxic brain injury is classified as a non-traumatic injury, meaning the injury results not from an impact or blunt force (i.e. car accident or sporting event) but from an absence of oxygen.

If blood flow is blocked or slowed, such as by a stroke, heart problems or a blood clot, then the brain can be deprived of oxygen. Blood can also be low in oxygen due to a variety of potential medical problems, such as lung disease or an event that stops you from breathing normally. Essentially, your brain is starved and without immediate attention, the damage can be severe, even leading to death.

Can these injuries happen at birth?

During birth, a child could potentially be deprived of oxygen for a period due to a kinking of the umbilical cord or the cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck. This could lead to a long-term effect on the child, either with cerebral palsy or paralysis.

What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Anoxic Brain Injuries?

There are four types of anoxic brain injuries:

  • Anoxic Anoxia – There is not enough oxygen in the air for the body to benefit. It can occur at high altitudes.
  • Anemic Anoxia – Blood that does not carry sufficient oxygen to the brain.
  • Toxic Anoxia – Toxins or metabolites that prevent the blood’s oxygen from being used efficiently.
  • Stagnant Anoxia – An internal condition blocks oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain.

Various health problems or accidents play a part in an anoxic brain injury. These include sudden cardiac arrest, choking, suffocation, drowning, electrical shock, stroke or a heart arrhythmia. However, this can also occur due to medical malpractice, which is defined as the neglect by a health care professional or provider to give appropriate treatment, omits treatment, or gives substandard care. Most often, medical malpractice is due to a medical error, which could occur during diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment or aftercare.

Errors, such as those during birth/delivery, complications relating to general anesthesia, surgical or medication, have an impact on the amount of damage the brain incurs.

How Do Anoxic Brain Injuries Impact the Individual Affected?

These types of injuries impact an individual on physiologic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and behavioral levels. These injuries influence numerous areas of the brain, causing multiple potential disabilities. The long-term effects are seen on such activities as walking, standing, and basic hand-eye coordination, while impacting language and memory. The recovery process is complicated, including initial treatments to control bleeding, repair damaged tissue, and to control the buildup of fluid on the brain. Ongoing care involves physical and cognitive therapy to address physical issues, as well as speech therapy.

Rehabilitation, especially in the early phases of recovery, has the most impact on the natural recovery process. However, intensive rehabilitation is costly, thus influencing the family financially and has long-term implications for that individual’s daily life.

What Are Your Rights? Contact the Marrone Law Firm, LLC Today

As you can see, anoxic brain injury is serious and catastrophic for those affected. If there has been wrongful injury caused by inadequate care, know that you have rights.

If you or someone you love has suffered an anoxic brain injury, contact an attorney at the Marrone Law Firm, LLC. We can provide a free consultation to help you evaluate your personal situation.

As one of the most successful litigation practices in the Philadelphia area, Marrone Law Firm, LLC provides vigorous, effective representation in matters ranging from personal injury and medical malpractice to real estate and criminal law.