Anoxia and Hypoxia.
As experienced Hampton Roads brain injury lawyers, we help people who have suffered anoxia and hypoxia after accidents. These are very serious conditions that typically require long-term medical care.
The brain consumes a fifth of the body’s oxygen supply. Even a very brief period of oxygen deprivation can cause serious brain damage or brain trauma.
Both anoxia and hypoxia are terms used to describe oxygen depletion to the brain.
What’s The Difference Between Anoxia and Hypoxia?
If an accident victim suffers hypoxia or anoxia, blood may be making its way into the brain. However, in the absence of sufficient oxygen in the blood, brain damage will result. Anoxia and hypoxia symptoms are often indicative of the level of damage done to the brain. These conditions have many potential causes.
Causes of Anoxia and Hypoxia
Our Virginia brain injury lawyers will seek to find the cause of anoxia and hypoxia and establish if anyone was to blame for the conditions. Possible reasons for anoxia and hypoxia include:
· Drowning or near drowning;
· Drug overdose;
· Inhalation of carbon dioxide or smoke;
· Asthma attacks;
· Medical mistakes in the administration of anesthesia;
· Heart attack;
· Traumatic brain injury from car, truck or motorcycle accidents.
· A birth injury.
Symptoms of Anoxia and Hypoxia
The brain begins to die very quickly when deprived of an adequate oxygen supply. Many of the symptoms are apparent as the condition takes effect. In less than a few minutes’ time, enough brain cells can die to create lasting damage or even life-threatening conditions. In adults, the initial signs tend to be an inability to focus or a lack of coordination in movement. Victims often suffer dizziness and headaches, and profuse sweating is a recognized symptom in many cases. Vision is also often impaired, and some patients experience a sense of euphoria.
As anoxia or hypoxia progresses many victims take on a bluish hue around their mouth and fingertips. They may suffer from seizures. These symptoms typically occur before a sufferer loses consciousness. Many sufferers slip into a coma. The symptoms are localized to the area impacted by oxygen depletion.
The British non-profit Headway states some areas of the brain are more sensitive when anoxia occurs than others. These include:
· The basal ganglia and the cerebellum which control movement;
· The cerebral cortex (in particular the parietal lobes and occipital lobes);
· The hippocampus which is important for memory;
· The pituitary and the hypothalamus glands.
The Long-Term Health Impacts of Anoxia and Hypoxia
The long-term health impacts of anoxia and hypoxia are typically extremely serious, although some sufferers recover to lead normal lives. In serious cases, the patient is left in a coma for days, weeks or months. He or she may suffer seizures and muscle spasms.
After the event, a patient is likely to suffer a wide range of psychological and neurological abnormalities. Mental changes like dementia or a psychosis may be diagnosed. He or she may suffer from mental confusion, lobe syndromes, memory loss, hallucinations and other forms of regression. Depending on the severity of the episode, the sufferer may need assistance breathing.
Damage to parts of the brain like the cerebral cortex, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia cause limb weakness and issues with balance, movement, and co-ordination. Anoxic injury to the basal ganglia can result in a range of abnormal movements, including involuntary writhing movements, tremor, and brief, jerky movements.
Damage to the victim’s occipital lobe can result in conditions such as Anton's syndrome, which impacts vision.
Anoxia or hypoxia can cause disturbances to the accident victim’s speech and language function due to damage to the areas of the brain that formulate speech. It may be difficult for a sufferer to formulate the correct words to say and he or she may have ongoing issues speaking and writing.
Personality disorders are common after brain damage. An injury to the frontal cortex may result in marked changes in personality, including irritability, impulsiveness, intolerance and inappropriate social perception and conduct. The sufferer may feel apathy, a lack of empathy and dearth of insight. Mood swings, agitation and sustained periods of depression can take a heavy toll on loved ones.
On occasions, a serious anoxic injury can damage the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, resulting in a wide variety of hormonal problems, such as hypopituitarism.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member suffers from an extreme brain injury caused by anoxia or hypoxia due to the fault of another party, it’s important to recover as much as possible for long-term medical needs. The Smith Law Center has achieved verdicts and settlements up to $60 million. We are experienced trial lawyers who will go to court to get you what you deserve. Our pages do not constitute legal or medical advice. To speak directly with Stephen M. Smith or his team, please call 757-650-9818.
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