Brain injuries can occur from any number of causes, but one of them that is important to know about is an injury caused by a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. Unlike a traumatic injury caused by a blow to the head, an anoxic brain injury happens when the brain is unable to get enough oxygen. When that happens, the neural cells begin to die in a process named apoptosis.
Anoxic brain injuries can be caused by injury or illness. A near drowning from a boating accident can result in an anoxic brain injury. Many diseases can lead to anoxic injuries, as can a significant loss of blood in the body. Acute hemorrhage, or massive bleeding, caused by a gunshot wound or severe laceration, for instance, could lead to such heavy blood loss that the brain is unable to receive as much oxygen as it needs to work well. If the lack of oxygen lasts for too long, the brain cells begin to die.
What are the symptoms of an anoxic brain injury?
An anoxic brain injury may have symptoms such as:
- Short-term memory loss, due to the hippocampus being highly sensitive to oxygen deprivation
- Difficulty with words
- Visual disturbances (including progressive blindness)
- A decline in executive functions such as synthesizing information or reasoning
Physically, some signs of an anoxic brain injury include:
- Spasticity or rigidity of the extremities
- Quadriparesis, or weakness in the legs and arms
- Ataxia, a loss of coordination
- Apraxia, or the inability to perform familiar sequences of physical movements
It is not assured that a patient who suffers from an anoxic brain injury will fully recover, because the injury is often extensive. For that reason, anyone who suffers this injury as a result of another party’s actions should pursue a claim for compensation that may be needed to support them and their medical care moving forward. At the Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A., we can help.