Brain Injury and Brain Damage Claims Attorneys
When you or a loved one suffers a brain injury during medical treatment or surgery, the positive change that you were hoping for may have instead resulted in an even worse condition. Medical mistakes leading to insufficient blood or oxygen to the brain can result in the death of brain cells which, unlike most other cells in the body, don’t regenerate. Such incidents can lead to permanent, serious disabilities – and even death. If a loved one has suffered brain damage because of the medical negligence of another, the Berkowitz Hanna can help.
Types of Brain Injuries
There are a few common brain injuries that can result from negligence on the part of the medical team. Anoxia is when the oxygen supply to the brain has been cut off, even if the patient has an adequate blood supply. Hypoxia occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain has been reduced to the point where brain cells are damaged or die off. Without adequate oxygen a biochemical reaction known as “ischemic cascade” occurs and brain cells can die within several minutes. Ischemia is caused when there is an Inadequate blood supply (which carries oxygen) to the brain.
How Do Brain Injuries Happen?
Brain injuries during surgery could occur because the supply of blood and/or oxygen to the brain is reduced or stopped entirely due to a heart attack, stroke, problems with anesthesia, or other complications with medications. For example, when taken in excess, some medications can cause the brain to swell, possibly resulting in lifelong disabilities. Additionally, a blood clot formed elsewhere in the body due to an injury or during the course of a surgical procedure could travel to the brain, blocking blood supply and causing a stroke. However, these injuries are not always caused by – or solely by – a complication, but by the failure of the medical staff to respond quickly to urgent health conditions requiring immediate attention. The brain is an immensely complex organ and its cell do not regenerate, making response time a vital factor in a patient’s well-being.
There are other ways in which a medical staff could cause or make worse a brain injury. A major cause of brain injuries due to medical negligence involves anesthesia complications during surgery. An anesthesiologist is a physician specializing in the use of drugs to control pain and induce a painless, sleep like state in order for surgery to take place. There are many vital aspects of the proper administration of anesthesia for which the anesthesiologist is responsible:
- Prior to surgery the anesthesiologist must have in-depth knowledge of the surgery, the patient’s overall health, potential heart or lung issues, and any known drug allergies.
- During surgery the anesthesiologist needs to balance the need to keep the patient alive but unconscious. This is made more difficult if the person’s overall health is poor or suffers from breathing or heart problems.
- During surgery the patient’s heart rate and breathing must be closely monitored.
- The anesthesiologist must correctly intubate the patient, placing a plastic tube in the patient’s windpipe to maintain an open airway.
- The anesthesiologist is responsible for the correct type and dosage of anesthesia.
If the anesthesiologist makes a mistake or oversight in any of these steps, it could lead to severe injury, and a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The Severity of Brain Injuries
Two key factors determining how the patient will be affected by the brain injury is the extent and location of the damage. Though it’s common, a brain injury does not necessarily result in a long-term or permanent disability. The correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment is necessary to limit or minimize the harm.
A neurological exam, neuroimaging testing such as MRI or CT scans, and neuropsychological assessments can help determine the extent and impact of the brain damage. The patient’s condition could be stabilized to prevent further injury by making sure sufficient blood and oxygen are reaching the brain and by controlling blood pressure.
Medications that could be used to limit additional damage to the brain after an injury may include:
- Diuretics: They reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and may reduce pressure inside the brain.
- Anti-seizure drugs: Those with moderate to severe brain injuries are at risk of having seizures (and additional brain damage) soon after the injury.
- Coma-inducing drugs: Putting a patient into a temporary coma may help, since a comatose brain requires less oxygen to function. This can be beneficial if blood vessels are compressed by increased pressure in the brain and are unable to deliver the usual amount of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells.
- Blood transfusions and medications to promote blood production: This is done in the hopes that additional blood-providing oxygen to the brain will limit the harm done by injuries.
Contact Berkowitz Hanna to Discuss Your Brain Injury Case
Depending on the severity of the brain injury, recovery can include extensive, specialized medical treatment and rehabilitation – the cost of which can be in the millions of dollars. If you or a loved one has suffered brain damage due to the negligence of a health care provider, contact the brain injury attorneys at Berkowitz Hanna today so we can discuss the case. Call us today at (866) 479-7909 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation.