Brain damage is the second leading disability in the country, with a traumatic brain injury affecting millions of Americans each year. Sometimes, traumatic brain injuries are caused by the negligence of someone else. It could be a drunk driver, a negligent property owner, or a negligent medical professional. In cases where the injury was likely caused due to the negligence of healthcare professionals, be it at birth, during surgery, or other circumstance, life will never be the same again.
Brain damage can cause long-term disabilities and even death. It is important to understand what type of situations can lead to brain injuries and brain damage. When brain damage is caused by negligence, you may have options to pursue compensation from those responsible.
What Type of Injuries Lead to Brain Damage?
There are two primary types of brain injury – traumatic and nontraumatic. Traumatic injuries are injuries due to a blow to the head, extreme shaking or strong rotation.
Examples of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs):
- Closed head injury: An injury caused by external force, such as a blow to the head.
- Concussion: A type of closed injury that causes impairment in brain function.
- Contusion: Bruising or bleeding in the brain due to a jolt to the head.
- Penetrating Injury: An open head injury that penetrates the skull and brain tissue, such as a bullet wound, knife, or sharp instrument.
Nontraumatic injuries are called acquired injuries. These are often injuries caused by a medical condition.
Examples of Nontraumatic Injuries:
- Anoxia or Hypoxia: Brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen
- Brain Infections: Meningitis can lead to brain injuries. In infants, jaundice that is untreated can also lead to a brain injury called kernicterus.
- Stroke: A brain injury caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. This is often caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain.
Nontraumatic injuries are the more common type of injury to lead to a medical malpractice claim. More specifically, brain damage at birth is a leading cause of birth injury claims.
Brain Damage at Birth
Brain damage can occur at the time of birth, most often, when the supply of oxygen is somehow hindered during labor and delivery. Some of the most common causes of lack of oxygen to the brain during birth are:
- Umbilical cord being compressed or twisted during birth
- Undiagnosed or untreated infection present in the mother while pregnant or at the time of birth
- If the placenta becomes detached (partially or completely) before giving birth
- Uterine rupture which occurs when the scar from a previous cesarean birth tears during an attempt to give birth naturally
- Breech position of the baby
- Size of baby being too large to go through birth canal (fetal macrosomia)
- Improper administration of epidural medication
- Failure to perform emergency cesarean (c-section) in timely manner
Brain damage at the time of birth can lead to many long-term disabilities, including developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy.
Symptoms of Brain Damage
The symptoms associated with brain damage may somewhat depend on where the injury is, and how severe it is. Generally, doctors look for the following symptoms if someone has suffered a head injury:
- Problems with balance
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty speaking
- Memory problems
Of course, an infant who suffered a birth injury may not exhibit these same symptoms or be able to communicate them. Healthcare providers, in these cases, must closely monitor the baby for signs or symptoms.
Brain Damage in Children and Adults
Brain damage can occur in children and adults because of medical negligence for many reasons. Medical mistakes and surgical errors are among the some of the most common.
Some other common causes of brain damage in children and adults are:
- Catastrophic event or reaction caused by dosing or administration of prescription medications
- Delay or failure to diagnose serious medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, or severe infection
- Falling down while under medical care due to improper protective measures being in place
In most instances, these injuries are completely preventable. Similar to injuries that occur at birth, brain damage occurring due to trauma in children and adults often cause long-term disabilities.
Getting Help and Support
If you suspect that a loved one has suffered brain damage due to the negligence of a healthcare professional it is important that you contact an attorney with experience in winning cases like yours as soon as possible. Injuries causing brain damage can be classified as medical malpractice claims and the amount of time that you have to bring forth a claim may be relatively limited. It is important that you contact an attorney as soon as you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical neglect or abuse.
Medical malpractice is a very complex area of law. The team at MedMalFirm.com has dedicated their practice to helping victims of medical malpractice. You will likely face many obstacles if you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence or abuse by a healthcare professional or facility, including teams of lawyers and insurance companies that work hard to minimize your claim or trick you into giving up your legal rights. We can help!
Contact our office today. We will review your situation and help you understand what you can do. We will do whatever we can to fight on behalf of you and your family, and to hold those responsible for the injury accountable for their negligence. You can reach us toll free at 877-887-4850.