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October has been designated National Brain Injury Awareness Month. This means injury advocacy groups and health organizations alike are conducting educational campaigns designed to foster a greater understanding of brain injuries and how they can affect a person on a day-to-day basis.
While this is certainly a worthy endeavor, many of these educational materials overlook the correlation between medical malpractice and brain injuries. Specifically, they may not show how the negligence of doctors, nurses, medical assistants, technicians and other healthcare professionals frequently leads to the onset of this devastating condition.
In an attempt to clarify any confusion, today’s post will provide some basic background information on how medical errors can lead to brain injuries.
When most people think of the general term “brain injury,” what they are most likely envisioning are traumatic brain injuries, meaning those caused by trauma to the head sustained in motor vehicle accidents, falls on slippery surfaces or violent blows.
While this is accurate, it’s important to understand that brain injuries can also be the direct result of medical negligence. For example, many people can suffer hypoxic or anoxic brain injuries — permanent damage to the brain caused by either a decrease or complete disruption in the flow of oxygenated blood to all or part of the brain.
How do these typically occur?
Although it is true that brain injuries are not always preventable, the unfortunate reality is that in busy hospital settings medical professionals may neglect to check on their patients as often as they should. Consequently, if a patient stops breathing but no one is there to begin resuscitation immediately, oxygen deprivation occurs, and a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury can result.
Some of the other types of medical negligence that can lead to a brain injury include failure to diagnose/treat a stroke, failure to diagnose/treat meningitis, failure to treat/prevent a hospital acquired infection, anesthesia errors and prescription errors to name only a few. Mistakes before, during or after childbirth can also result in devastating brain injury and lifelong conditions like cerebral palsy.
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury that you believe was caused by the negligence of a medical professional in charge of your care, you have a right to answers and you have a right to justice. A qualified legal professional can explain your rights and outline your options.
Please note this post was provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or medical advice.
Source: Voxxi, “Brain injury symptoms and types: Why you should know more,” Hope Gillette, Oct. 15, 2012;