Brain damage may result in a variety of ways, including medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, and illness. Brain damage can occur be "diffuse" or "localized." Diffuse brain damage can result from prolonged hypoxia (shortage of oxygen to the brain), poisonous substances, medication errors and/or overdoses, and neurological illness. Localized or focal brain damage can occur from trauma, stroke, aneurysm, surgery, or neurological illness.
Brain Damage Caused by Medical Malpractice
Brain damage or brain injury from medical malpractice can occur under a variety of circumstances, including:
- Birth injuries from oxygen deprivation
- Oxygen deprivation during surgery
- Medication errors
- Improper administration or mointoring of anesthesia
- Failure to monitor vital signs and respond to poor vital signs
- Improper treatment of existing brain injury
- Slip and fall injury in hospital from inadequate monitoring
Whether medical malpractice caused the brain damage or whether it simply occurred as a bad outcome is often a complicated questions. To determine whether malpractice occurred, it is critical to consult a medical malpractice attorney who has the knowledge, skill, and experience to effectively investigation and prosecute complex medical malpractice cases involving brain damage.
Effects of Brain Damage
The effects of brain damage can vary widely and may involve physical effects, cognitive effects, and emotional effects. Physical effects may include headaches, movement disorders, seizures, difficulty walking, sexual dysfunction, lethargy and/or coma. Cognitive effects may include changes in judgment, ability to reason, memory, and mathematical ability. Emotional effects may include mood swings, poor impulse control, agitation, low frustration threshold, clinical depression, and psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.
Extent of Brain Damage and Prognosis
The extent and effect of brain damage is often assessed through the use of neurological examination, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological assessment. Brain damage can be temporary or permanent. The location of the brain injury, extent of the brain injury, and overall health of the patient are important factors for predicting a patient' prognosis.
Rehabilitation for patients with a brain injury is also an important part of their recovery process. After the patient is stabilized, they may be transferred for rehabilitation therapy as an inpatient or outpatient depending on their condition and other variables. Patients are usually best managed in a facility that has a specialty focus in Brain Injury Rehabilitation. These patients may often need to relearn basic skills, including walking, talking, and bathing. The overall goal is to improve their ability to function as independently as possible.
For children with brain injuries, the extent and nature of the damage may not become clear for years. The child' ability to receive the best possible care can be vital to their prognosis.