Brain Injuries: What You Should Know
Suffering a traumatic brain injury can have serious life changing consequences. Here, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos discuss what you should know about brain injuries.
An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital or caused by a birth injury. This kind of injury is one that occurs after birth due to external or internal forces. A brain injury may result in a change to the brain’s neural activity, which may affect the physical integrity or functional ability of the nerve cells in the brain.
There are two types of acquired brain injuries: traumatic and non-traumatic.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function caused by an external force. The severity of brain injuries can never be underestimated: unlike a broken limb or a torn muscle that limits functionality of that specific body area, our brain helps define our entire self; a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality, motor function, intellectual capabilities and more.
Causes for traumatic brain injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Sports Injuries
- Vehicle accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Domestic violence
Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is based on mechanisms that remain uncertain, but treatments such as diuretic medications, surgery, cognitive behavioral therapy, rehabilitation, speech therapy and more may help improve injury outcomes. The effects of a brain injury are complex and vary from person to person: no two brain injuries are identical, and the consequences of a similar injury may vary significantly in different patients.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
A non-traumatic brain injury is defined as an altercation in brain function caused by an internal force. Although they aren’t caused by a vicious external force, they are brain injuries nonetheless and are treated as such. Non-traumatic brain injuries may include but are not limited to:
- Neurotoxic poisoning
- Infectious diseases (e.g. Meningitis)
- Lack of oxygen
- Drug overdose
Brain injuries range in severity and can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. The severity of damage is the primary factor in predicting the injury’s impact on the individual.
Mild Brain Injury
Mild brain injuries may lead to short-term memory loss, vomiting and dizziness or brief loss of consciousness. It is important to seek medical attention after a head injury no matter how mild it is, as mild brain injuries tend to go unnoticed and may have serious long-term consequences if left unattended.
Moderate Brain Injury
Moderate brain injuries may lead to unconsciousness for up to 24 hours, dizziness, excessive fatigue, loss of memory, ringing in the ears, contusions or bleeding in the brain and more. Such injuries can lead to cognitive deficits including difficulties with memory, attention and concentration. Problems with speech and language, difficulties with interpretation of the different senses (vision, touch, taste, hearing and smell) as well as difficulties perceptualizing simple impressions into something meaningful may also occur and can be lasting or short-term.
Severe Brain Injury
A severe brain injury may cause the individual to experience an unconscious state that exceeds 24 hours. Like moderate brain injuries, the impact of a severe brain injury can impact several bodily functions. Severe brain injuries may lead to physical changes such as paralysis, chronic pain and uncontrollable bowel movements as well as social and emotional changes such as aggression, depression and irritability.
If a person falls into a comatose state, the length of the comatose period, as well as other factors, will determine whether brain trauma rehabilitation will be possible. Depending on the conscious state of the person, they may be in a vegetative state, minimally conscious state, suffering from locked-in syndrome or considered brain dead, also known as an irreversible coma or legal death.
Why You Might Need an Attorney
Having worked with many families through various types of brain injuries and resulting health effects, our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos will make every effort to fight for the compensation you and your loved ones deserve after an incident. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence of a medical professional, on the job or elsewhere, contact our medical malpractice attorneys today.