An injury to the brain is the most devastating kind of injury and can cause life-long disability. If a patient’s brain damage is the result of medical malpractice, the patient is entitled to recover from the negligent hospital, doctors, nurses, or other health care providers and their insurance companies.
There are many signs of brain damage, in varying degrees. Symptoms can range from a comatose or persistent vegetative state on one end of the spectrum, to excessive sleepiness, inattention, difficulty concentrating, and impaired memory on the other. If the damage to the brain is minor, the symptoms should lessen over time as the brain heals. On the other hand, many types of brain injury are permanent.
The symptoms of brain damage depend on where the brain has been injured.
Frontal lobe injuries — if the frontal lobe is injured, the patient may experience loss of simple movement of various body parts (paralysis). This area of injury is also associated with problems sequencing and paying attention and Broca’s Aphasia.
Parietal lobe injuries — If the parietal lobe is injured, the patient may suffer from an inability to name an object (anomia), an inability to locate the words for writing (agraphia) or a lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (apraxia).
Occipital lobe injuries — If the occipital lobes are injured, the patient may experience vision difficulty and difficulties with reading and writing.
Temporal lobe injuries — If the temporal lobes are injured, the patient may experience difficulty in recognizing faces (prosopagnosia) or difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke’s Aphasia).
Brain stem injuries — The most devastating brain injury is one that occurs to the brain stem deep within the brain. Brain stem injury can impair many things including breathing, speech, and swallowing.
Cerebellum injuries — Damage to the cerebellum can be similarly catastrophic in that it may cause an inability to coordinate movements like walking.
Brain injury is frequently caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can happen several ways but healthcare providers always have the responsibility to make sure that a patient’s brain is receiving enough oxygen. Brain damage caused by medical malpractice can happen to babies at birth, to emergency room patients, to patients receiving anesthesia and undergoing surgery, and in many other scenarios.