It’s very easy for a car accident to cause a brain injury. All your head has to do is hit the steering wheel or any other object for your brain to suffer trauma. However, there is also a type of brain injury that happens even when your head hasn’t experienced an external blow. That injury is an anoxic brain injury, and just because it doesn’t involve outside trauma doesn’t mean it’s not just as dangerous.
An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. When there is not enough oxygen traveling to the brain, it can cause serious damage to the brain cells. The cells can die and permanently affect the brain’s ability to function. The longer the brain is deprived of oxygen, the more life-threatening the injury becomes.
Common causes of anoxic brain injury
Any action that cuts off the oxygen to your lungs can cause anoxic brain injuries. This includes choking and trauma to the windpipe, both of which can happen when you’re being attacked.
Anoxic brain injuries can also happen to babies when they are deprived of oxygen. This can happen during the childbirth process if there is a nuchal cord or a placental abruption, or if a C-section is delayed. It can also be caused by maternal conditions, such as hemorrhage or preeclampsia.
Two of the biggest risks for anoxic brain injury in children are drowning and suffocation. Unsecured pools or defective drain covers can trap a child, leading to oxygen deprivation. They can also suffer brain trauma if they slip while in the bath. Rocker-sleepers, sleep swings, and excessive bedding can cause a child to suffocate, which can lead to anoxic brain injury.
Types of anoxic brain injuries
There are four types of anoxia:
- Anemic anoxia. This type of anoxia happens when the blood cannot carry sufficient oxygen to the brain. Even though the blood flow is still enough, the brain does not receive enough oxygen to help it perform key functions. As a result, your body slowly deteriorates over time. Some of the conditions that can cause anemic anoxia are carbon monoxide poisoning and chronic anemia.
- Anoxic anoxia. This type of anoxia happens when there is a significant lack of oxygen in the air. This often happens when you are in high altitudes.
- Stagnant anoxia. This happens when oxygen-rich blood is unable to reach your brain because of an internal condition. This type of anoxia happens after you have suffered from a stroke or some form of cardiac arrest.
- Toxic anoxia. This type of anoxia happens when there are toxins in your system that affect the oxygen in your blood. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a common cause of this type of anoxia.
What are the symptoms of anoxic brain injury?
Some of the symptoms of an anoxic brain injury are loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, and vomiting. You may also experience changes in your behavior or sensation issues. You may feel a tingling feeling in your arms and legs and experience an intense headache. You can also experience psychological symptoms like unexplained anxiety or depression.
Dangers of anoxic brain injuries
The longer your brain goes without oxygen, the more cognitive damage you will experience. Your brain can be damaged from having oxygen withheld for just 30 seconds. You can start to experience short-term and long-term memory loss.
The tasks that you could do easily, like speaking and processing information, will be harder for you to do. In some cases, you may also experience vision issues. You may have a hard time processing visual information and can suffer from cortical blindness.
In addition to cognitive issues, anoxic brain injuries can cause significant physical damage. The lack of oxygen can lead to a condition called quadriparesis, where you experience weakness in all four of your limbs. You can also experience a permanent lack of coordination that’s similar to drinking too much alcohol. You might stumble and weave around uncontrollably. Other physical conditions include muscle spasms and involuntary jerking movements.
How are anoxic brain injuries diagnosed?
The severity of your anoxic brain injury will depend on how quickly you seek medical treatment. The symptoms of these brain injuries are not always as noticeable as physical injuries. You will have to rely on specific diagnostic tests to confirm a brain injury, including MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, and EEGs (electroencephalograms).
Recovering from an anoxic brain injury is extremely difficult. Best case scenario, it may take you a few months to years to recover. Worst case scenario, you can slip into a coma or suffer from instant death. When your brain suffers from oxygen deprivation, you can also run high fevers, leading to other serious health conditions.
For children, however, the outcome may be far worse. Brain injury effects are often cumulative, because the brain will continue to grow and mature. A severe injury can alter this growth and maturity. It can also arrest physical and cognitive development.
Damages available for anoxic brain injuries
Anoxic brain injuries can cause permanent damage. If you do not receive prompt medical treatment, you can be permanently disabled. When your anoxic brain injury occurs as a result of another’s negligence, you have the right to hold that party liable for your injuries.
Because that person caused you harm, whether deliberately or through negligence, you are eligible to seek compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim.
In your accident claim, you will be able to list all of the damages that you must be compensated for. This includes:
- Medical expenses. Your injuries will require medical treatment now and in the future. Some of these expenses include occupational therapy, speech therapy, future surgeries, and caretakers.
- Lost income. You are also entitled to compensation for the time you had to take off from work to recover from your injuries, as well as any future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering. You can also be compensated for any physical pain and mental anguish that you have had to experience.
At Price, Petho & Associates, we understand the toll that a brain injury can take on you and your family. Our Charlotte brain injury attorneys are passionate about helping you seek the justice you deserve. Call us today at 704-372-2160, or complete our contact form to schedule your consultation. We represent brain injury victims in Charlotte, Rutherfordton, and Rockingham.