Brain Injury Due to Medical Malpractice
When most people hear the words “brain injury,” they will usually think of damage to the brain caused by some type of physical trauma such as a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or by being struck by a falling object. But did you know that most brain injuries are not due to trauma but are instead due to some medical condition that was either incorrectly diagnosed or improperly treated?
On this page, the brain injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm will briefly review the three major types of brain injuries: traumatic brain injury, hypoxic brain injury, and embolic brain injury. He will then offer suggestions that may be of interest to those who suspect that they, or a family member, may have been the victim of medical malpractice leading to brain injury.
Types of Brain Injury
Your brain directly receives 30% of all blood pumped by your heart. In other words, one drop out of every three drops of blood leaving your heart will flow directly to your brain! This is because your brain must have a constant supply of oxygen, glucose (a type of sugar) and other nutrients if it is to function normally. Any medical condition that interferes with the brain’s supply of oxygen and glucose, even for only a few minutes, can cause a brain injury.
At their most basic level, many brain injuries are caused by either 1) direct physical trauma to the brain, 2) a lack of oxygen in the brain’s blood supply, or 3) an obstruction of blood flow into the brain. As you might expect, these types of injuries rarely occur as isolated events and most brain injuries usually involve aspects from each general group.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Simply stated, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when an external force causes a disruption of normal brain function. Victims of TBI can exhibit a variety of symptoms, ranging from being “knocked silly” (a mild concussion) to confusion with brief loss of consciousness or, in severe cases of TBI, a deep loss of consciousness known as a coma. The long-term effects of repeated incidents of mild TBI, which are relatively common in professional athletes such as footballers, boxers, and professional wrestlers, are poorly understood and are only now being studied by medical authorities.
Hypoxic Brain Injury
Hypoxia (“low oxygen”) is the term doctors and other medical professionals use to describe a condition where blood does not contain enough oxygen to meet the body’s needs. Since the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to function normally, many of the signs and symptoms that indicate a lack of adequate oxygen in the bloodstream are related to the decreased availability of oxygen to the brain. These signs, which also vary in severity, range from mild confusion as to time and place to loss of consciousness and even to the loss of nerve impulses that control a victim’s heart rate and breathing. Virtually all brain injuries will involve at least some degree of hypoxia.
Embolic Brain Injury
Normally, the body’s blood cells circulate freely and do not adhere to the cells that make up the walls of arteries and veins. However, as we age the artery walls become weaker and are subject to a condition known as atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”). In atherosclerosis, “rough spots” develop in the lining of arteries which, in turn, lead to the formation of collections of cholesterol, red blood cells, and platelets (the blood cells that prevent excessive bleeding) known as a thrombus.
When a thrombus breaks away from its original location and then blocks blood flow in one of the arteries that supply blood flow to part of the brain, a cerebral thrombosis or cerebral embolus is said to have occurred. In layman’s terms, the victim of a cerebral thrombosis or embolus is usually said to have suffered a stroke.
Medical Malpractice Leading to Brain Injury
In law, medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner fails to provide a standard of care that would be expected of someone with similar training and/or experience. At The Doan Law Firm, we have found that most incidents of medical malpractice resulting in brain injury were preventable accidents where a medical practitioner either neglected to properly monitor the victim’s condition during surgery or some other medical procedure or failed to diagnose a potentially-treatable condition that eventually caused a brain injury.
Contacting a Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injuries are among the worst possible complications of surgery and other forms of medical treatment. In addition to causing unnecessary suffering by the brain injury victim, once these injuries are detected they are essentially untreatable except for rehabilitation therapy to help the victim and his or her family learn to live with the victim’s disability.
Sadly, many brain injury victims are unable to return to their homes following their injury and will require skilled, long-term, nursing care in an assisted living center or nursing home. According to seniorliving.org, the national average cost of one year’s care in a skilled nursing facility is approximately $79,200 exclusive of the costs associated with doctors’ fees or therapy.
If you suspect that a member of your family suffered a brain injury that was due to medical malpractice, we invite you to contact the brain injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free, no cost and no obligation review of your potential brain injury case and a discussion of the legal avenues that may be open to you.
At The Doan Law Firm, we understand how emotionally and financially devastating brain injuries can be. Because no one plans for a brain injury to occur, our firm will never charge you a fee of any kind for our brain injury lawyer to review the facts in your brain injury case or to discuss the legal options that may be available to help you meet the costs of your family member’s care. After speaking with our brain injury lawyer, should you decide that a lawsuit is in order and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your brain injury lawsuit for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we are prepared to win for you.