This month, the Chicago personal injury lawyers of Passen & Powell have been focusing on the many types and causes of traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury in connection with national Brain Injury Awareness Month. Today, we take a closer look at encephalomalacia, a serious form of brain injury that can occur at birth or throughout life.
Encephalomalacia, also known as cerebromalacia, is the softening of brain tissue. It can be caused either by vascular insufficiency, and thus insufficient blood flow to the brain, or by degeneration. Encephalomalacia can be the formation of necrosis, or dead tissue, in a portion of the brain due to a partial complete blockage of blood flow to the area, which in turn can be caused by a natural condition or by infection or trauma (TBI). The term encephalomalacia is also used at times to refer more generally to degenerative conditions affecting the brain. If the condition affects the white matter of the brain, it is called leukoencephalomalacia. If it affects the gray matter, it is known as polioencephalomalacia.
An individual suffering from encephalomalacia will experience a number of symptoms, all of which involve a loss of function. These symptoms can include somnolence (extreme drowsiness), blindness, ataxia (wobbliness and lack of coordination), sleep walking, head pressing, circling, and, eventually, terminal coma. Also, depending on the location of the softened tissue, there can be different effects. For example, softening in the frontal lobe can lead to memory loss and mood swings.
If you, a family member, or a friend are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If your symptoms are the result of encephalomalacia, not only is it important to obtain the proper treatment, but it is also important to determine the cause of your condition. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have extensive experience working with patients and doctors to understand how encephalomalacia occurred in a particular case, and whether legal action is warranted. Where a brain injury was caused by the negligence or malpractice of another individual or entity, our attorneys will ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive full compensation available under the law.
Encephalomalacia can result from natural causes, such as infarction; therefore, not all cases of encephalomalacia or similar injuries are compensable. However, the condition can also be caused by trauma, which in turn may be the result of negligence or reckless conduct. In adults, another common cause of encephalomalacia is complications from surgery, particularly brain surgery to correct other problems, such as tumors. If those complications were the result of medical negligence, the victim may have a legal action against the physicians, nurses, or hospitals involved.
Particularly common in newborns and infants is multicystic encephalomalacia, or the formation of cavernous cystsic in the brain after an injury. The most common cause of multicystic encephalomalacia, especially in infants, is hypoxia. The birth injury lawyers at Passen & Powell have discussed injuries from hypoxia in infants at length in connection with Brain Injury Awareness Month. However, infants can also suffer encephalomalacia due to trauma from, for example, the improper use of forceps at delivery.
In either case of encephalomalacia caused by hypoxia or trauma, a thorough investigation and analysis of the particular circumstances can help you determine whether your child’s injuries were the result of negligence, and whether the injuries are compensable. Our top Chicago brain injury attorneys can help you determine what caused your child’s brain injury and what claims you may have, identify all possible defendants, and obtain the compensation your child deserves to assist with future medical and emotional treatment.
For a free consultation with an experienced encephalomalacia lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.