Today, our Chicago personal injury lawyers continue to explore nontraumatic brain injuries and, in particular, hypoxic-anoxic injuries (HAI).
As our Chicago brain injury attorneys explained yesterday, hypoxia occurs when the brain is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Anoxia occurs where there is complete deprivation of oxygen supply to the brain. Either condition may result in catastrophic and permanent brain damage.
There are various categories of hypoxia, including:
- Diffuse Cerebral Hypoxia: Associated with low blood oxygen levels, it is the least serious and is rarely life-threatening (e.g. fainting). However, this should still be taken very seriously, as the condition may worsen, or it may indicate a serious underlying problem.
- Focal Cerebral Ischemia: Reduction of oxygen specific to one area of the brain. It is more serious, and can result in a stroke, but rarely results in death or brain damage.
- Cerebral Infarction: Extremely serious generalized issue in which no oxygen makes it way from the blood to the brain. At this stage strokes and brain damage are common and irreversible.
- Global Cerebral Ischemia: The highest category, where the blood itself is cut off from the brain and which usually results in serious permanent brain damage or death.
The symptoms of hypoxic-anoxic injury are similar to those experienced by victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI). They can include loss of consciousness or coma, a persistent vegetative state (conscious but unresponsive), memory loss, poor executive functioning (judgment, reasoning, information processing), anomia (difficulty with language or using words), visual functioning, ataxia (lack of coordination), apraxia (inability to perform common tasks), movement disorders (muscle spasms, involuntary movements, jerky movements, trembling), quadriparesis (weakness in the limbs), headaches, confusion, depression, personality changes, inability to concentrate, hallucinations, delusions and seizures.
HAI in newborns and children presents particular difficulties and challenges similar to TBI in children. Because certain brain functions may not become implicated until later stages of development, brain damage from an HAI may not be discernible for many years. Just a few of the more serious consequences associated with HAI and childbirth include hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain damage, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and developmental delays.
Where HAI is caused by medical malpractice or negligence, you may have a legal cause of action. In such instances, it is critical that all aspects of your case be thoroughly and comprehensively investigated by the most qualified specialists and professionals, and that you be represented by a dedicated and experienced Chicago brain injury attorney.
If you have a question or suspicion about your or a loved one’s brain injury, call for a free consultation with a top-rated Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell today at (312) 527-4500.