The brain is the control center for the entire human body. It is the core part of our central nervous system that directs everything our body does. Moreover, it very well may be the part of our body that makes us, well, us. Accordingly, it is very important to protect the brain because it is so important to us and who we are. One of the things the brain needs to function properly is oxygen. If a brain is deprived of oxygen, things can go very bad very quickly.
Brain damage due to oxygen deprivation can occur within mere minutes of oxygen being cut off to the brain. Some of this damage may not be noticeable right away, but oxygen deprivation to the brain for any length of time is incredibly serious and can have incredibly serious consequences.
If you have a legal issue regarding a brain injury, call our Baltimore brain injury lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras for help at the number (410) 694-7291.
How Long Does it Take for Oxygen Deprivation to Cause Damage?
Brain damage due to oxygen deprivation can happen very quickly. The medical term for oxygen deprivation to the brain is “cerebral hypoxia.” Cerebral hypoxia refers to when the brain is not getting enough oxygen. There is another term for when the brain is completely deprived of oxygen altogether, called “cerebral anoxia,” although the terms are frequently used interchangeably. Cerebral hypoxia and anoxia can have dire consequences extremely quickly. Although it will depend from person to person, it usually only takes just two minutes for permanent brain damage to start occurring when there is no oxygen going to the brain. Death can happen in as little as six minutes with no oxygen.
What Damage Can Be Caused by Cerebral Hypoxia or Cerebral Anoxia
Serious damage is almost a certainty when the brain is deprived of oxygen. The longer the brain is deprived of oxygen, the more serious the damage is going to be. If oxygen deprivation goes on for long enough, the result will be death.
One of the consequences of oxygen deprivation to the brain is memory loss. This could be a one-off incident where somebody forgets what they had for breakfast one day, or it could lead to lasting chronic forgetfulness issues that may go as far as needing professional medical help to function.
Changes to the brain brought on by cerebral hypoxia can result in personality changes. Well-tempered people may become angry or scared, and temperamental people may “mellow out,” but not in a manner that is in any way positive. Such personality changes may also result in poor judgment or reckless decision-making, even if the person was very cautious and prepared before their injury.
Another common result of brain oxygen deprivation is difficulty balancing. This may also include involuntary muscle spasms or contractions.
Damage to the brain can result in the loss of basic functions like speaking. This could be anything from difficulty forming certain words, slurring words, responding slowly, or losing the ability to verbally communicate entirely.
What are My Legal Options after Brain Damage Due to Lack of Oxygen?
If you or someone you care about got injured because of cerebral hypoxia, there are legal avenues available. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you could be filing one of several different kinds of lawsuits for a brain injury brought on by a lack of oxygen, and our Maryland personal injury lawyers are capable of helping you with any one of them.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawsuit is when you sue someone who has wronged you for the injuries they caused. Defendants are responsible for any injuries they inflict on the plaintiff, even if they did not intend to hurt them in a specific way. For example, if a defendant hits a plaintiff with their car and, due to shock, the plaintiff goes into cardiac arrest, the defendant may be on the hook not just for damage to the car and for more immediately obvious physical injuries such as broken bones, but they will also likely be liable for any brain damage the plaintiff suffers due to lack of oxygen to the brain during cardiac arrest.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice lawsuits are a specific kind of personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits allege that a doctor, physician, or someone else in the medical profession did something negligent and that negligence caused your injury. In this case, the negligent act would be somehow limiting or depriving the brain of its oxygen supply.
There are certain medical procedures that need to be done in the event of cerebral hypoxia. For example, hypoxia can be the result of cardiac arrest. In those instances, it is a good idea to administer CPR. Depending on the circumstances, it could be considered medical negligence to not administer CPR or do it incorrectly. Hypoxic brain injuries are also common in birth injury cases, where a prolonged delivery or other issue cuts off oxygen flow to the newborn’s brain, potentially resulting in injuries and long-term health conditions, potentially including cerebral palsy.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Unfortunately, the reality is that death can occur quickly when there is oxygen deprivation to the brain. If you are suing on behalf of a loved one who has passed away because of someone else’s negligence, it is called a wrongful death lawsuit or a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims have certain special rules that make them different from lawsuits where a living person was injured. For example, in Maryland, only spouses, children, and parents of the deceased can bring this case to court. It is important that you consult with our lawyers if you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit.
Call Our Brain Injury Lawyers Right Away
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ Maryland medical injury lawyers are ready to help you with your case when you call us at (410) 694-7291.