Anoxic Brain Injuries in Virginia

Oxygen is crucial to the proper function of the human brain. When insufficient oxygen is supplied to the brain, or when the oxygen supply is cut off altogether, this can result in irreversible damage to the brain. This is known as an anoxic or hypoxic brain injury, and the resulting effects may mimic the symptoms seen in a severe head trauma patient. The following is a brief primer on the types and causes of anoxic brain injuries, which can you give you a general sense of what these injuries entail. To more fully understand how these injuries can impact you or your family, you should speak with a dedicated Virginia anoxic brain injury lawyer. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) works with individuals suffering from an acquired brain injury (ABI). They treat those suffering not only from anoxic and hypoxic brain injuries, but also patients who have sustained such damage through other means, which can include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor/cancer
  • And more

The WWRC provides evaluations, rehabilitation, therapy and treatment plans to help brain injury patients at all levels of the damage spectrum. Each brain injury is unique in some respects, yet each one can have a lifelong impact on the victim and his or her family – mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or your loved one’s brain injury is the result of another’s negligence, contact a lawyer to review your anoxic brain injury case.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injuries that are caused by an internal, health-related factor are known as non-traumatic brain injuries. They differ from traumatic brain injury (TBI) in that no external factor, such as a blow to the head, is necessary for damage to occur. A non-traumatic brain injury can result from a number of causes, including oxygen deprivation, stroke, blood clots, toxic inhalation, seizures, and more. When the result of these injuries is due to the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional or institution, patients’ have a right to seek recompense through a medical malpractice claim. Such claims are typically complex, therefore anyone who is pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit for an anoxic brain injury – or anyone who would like to know if they have the legal right to file such a claim – should speak with a well-qualified attorney.

Cerebral Hypoxia

Non-traumatic brain injuries are often caused by a decreased oxygen supply to the brain, whether or not the blood flow is also constricted. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, There are many causes for this phenomenon of oxygen deprivation, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Suffocation
  • Choking
  • Drowning
  • Electrical shock
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Toxic inhalation
  • Drug use/overdose
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Head trauma and excessive swelling

In addition to these incidents, hypoxic brain injury can also occur when low blood pressure fails to supply the brain with enough blood, or when there is a severe reduction in blood flow to the brain. This causes a specific type of hypoxic brain injury known as Stagnant Hypoxia or Ischemic Insult. In cases such as this, the body’s inability to get sufficient blood flow to the brain prohibits the brain from receiving the oxygen necessary to perform its critical functions. The term hypoxia refers to a decreased and insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. After approximately four minutes of hypoxia, cells within the brain begin to die. If the oxygen supply is not quickly restored, permanent and life-changing damage may ensue.

Anoxic Brain Injury

The term anoxia refers to a complete disruption or total lack of oxygen supply to the brain. This may occur in many ways. The types of accidents and incidents that often cause hypoxic brain injury are also capable of causing anoxic brain injury. Based on the method by which the oxygen is withheld, the anoxic brain injury may be categorized in one of three ways:

  • Anemic Anoxia – a brain injury that is caused by blood flow with an insufficient oxygen supply;
  • Anoxic Anoxia – a brain injury that is caused by a complete lack of oxygen supply;
  • Toxic Anoxia – a brain injury that is caused by toxins that prevent the oxygen in the bloodstream from being utilized.

The side effects of an anoxic brain injury depend upon the length of time the individual and/or brain suffered oxygen deprivation. Serious life-altering and life-threatening complications occur because of this insufficient oxygen supply.

Treatment for Anoxic and Hypoxic Brain Injuries

Immediate treatment for an anoxic brain injury may include oxygen therapy to increase blood-oxygen levels, medication to increase the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, and attempts to cool the brain to reduce the degree of damage to the brain. After initial treatments and evaluations, brain injury victims often undergo extensive therapy which may require the help of an entire team of specialists, which can include:

  • Psychologists
  • Neurologists
  • Speech therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists

These and other medical professionals will work with a brain injury patient over the course of weeks, months, or even years to help the patient recover as much function as possible.

How an Attorney Can Help

If another person or party is responsible for the accident or incident that caused your brain injury, or that of a loved one, there may be financial compensation available through the skilled legal representation of a Virginia  lawyer.  To find out more, call our Virginia law offices to schedule a no-cost case consultation. We have the local connection that will serve you well in this area of the Commonwealth, and is a passionate litigator who will exhaust every available option to secure you the best possible outcome in your case.