Brain injury can be a devastating result of an accident or medical malpractice. Brain injuries are potentially catastrophic not only to those that are injured but also to friends, family and care-givers. Brain injuries continue to be some of the most challenging medical issues to deal with for physicians and other medical-care providers.
Treatment is typically costly and results are often unpredictable. Cases tend to be unique from one patient to the next. Contact our Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer in Louisville if you have suffered brain injuries caused by another person's negligence.
Major Brain Injuries
- Hypoxic brain injuries
- Anoxic brain injuries
- Coup contre coup brain injuries
Hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries involve the brain and its oxygen requirement being interrupted. Hypoxic means a reduced oxygen flow. An anoxic means a total depravation of oxygen. Classically, the more complete the depravation and/or the longer the brain is forced to do without oxygen, the greater the damage.
A reduced oxygen supply can result in serious physical, cognitive and physiological functioning defects. Brain cells begin to die within minutes of being deprived of oxygen. A lack of oxygen adversely affects neurotransmitters which regulate many of the brain’s functions. Examples include endorphins which communicate issues involving pain and pleasure. Acetylcholine is critical for memory functioning. Dopamine and Serotonin regulate moods.
Hypoxic brain injury and anoxic brain injury occur as a result of asphyxia. Additionally, anesthesia accidents can cause these types of brain injuries. Other causes are cardiovascular disease, chest trauma, electrocution, poisoning and/or bronchial asthma.
Often, physical deficits include lack of coordination or ataxia. Additionally, jerky motions or trembling movements can result. These are referred to as spasticity or rigidity. Weakness in the extremities can result. This condition is called quadriparesis. The decreased ability to perform known physical movements (brushing teeth, buttoning a button, etc.) can occur and is called apraxia. Cognitive deficits from brain injury can range from short term memory loss to difficulty with words (anomia). A decrease in functioning, reasoning, judgment calls, decision making, etc. can also occur as can visual disturbances.
A coup contre coup injury is often seen where there is an immediate change in velocity, such as in car accidents. Coup contre coup refers to a condition where the brain is slammed into the skull and then is rebounded and collides against another wall of the skull. This type of brain injury can cause axonal shearing, also known as diffuse axonal injury.
With axonal shearing or diffuse axonal injury, the cell body is torn from its axons or its roots. The cell body is known as the stoma and roots are known as the axons. These axons provide all-important connections between brain cells and different functions/areas of the brain. When axonal shearing occurs, confusion results in the release of toxic levels of neurotransmitters into the spaces between brain cells. This results in damage to other neurons.
Remarkably the brain tries to repair itself after a coup contre coup injury. The less significant the injury, the more likely the brain is to move toward recovery. Additionally, the brain can reroute and adapt in certain ways that continue to confuse and amaze physicians and researchers as well as the families of these victims. As with hypoxic brain injury or anoxic brain injury, recovery from axonal shearing coup contre coup injuries is difficult to predict. Again, these injuries are not only life-altering for the victim but certainly provide like-altering challenges to friends, family members and medical-care providers.
If you have questions about brain injury and a potential connection to a trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or a medical malpractice incident, do not hesitate to contact Kentucky brain injury attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC at (502) 242-8877.
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