Despite the name, non-traumatic brain injuries can be as severe or even much more devastating that than traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In this article, Miami brain injury lawyer Prosper Shaked discusses the less commonly known non-traumatic brain injuries.
What is the difference between a traumatic brain injury and a non-traumatic brain injury?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by something outside of the body impacting the head such a sudden blow, bump, or other forceful trauma that inhibits the normal functioning of the brain. Non-traumatic brain injuries are not caused by any sort of external force or head trauma. Instead, non-traumatic brain injuries come as the result of accidents that deprive the flow of oxygen to the brain or medical conditions and illnesses that disturb the normal functioning of the brain.
The biggest distinction is that many non-traumatic brain injuries, especially those caused by infection or illness, can spread to other parts of the brain. Except for diffuse axonal injuries, TBIs usually affect specific focal areas and do not spread the same way that non-traumatic brain injuries can. However, non-traumatic brain injuries and traumatic brain injuries are not mutually exclusive of one another. It is extremely common for a traumatic brain injury to cause a non-traumatic brain injury when not treated properly.
What Causes a Non-Traumatic Brain Injury?
Non-traumatic brain injuries do not garner the attention that traumatic brain injuries do and are often overlooked by individuals outside of the medical community. This is because non-traumatic brain injuries do not carry the visible symptoms that traumatic brain injuries carry like bruising, swelling, blood loss, and open head injuries.
Non-traumatic brain injuries are not often the result of an isolated incident or accident but instead come as the result of ongoing illness. In fact, many non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by traumatic brain injuries, especially when TBIs are not diagnosed early and treated properly. These illnesses and conditions include but are not limited to aneurysms, strokes, meningitis, brain tumors, encephalitis, arteriovenous malfunctions (AVMs). However, there are several types of non-violent accidents and incidents that can lead to non-traumatic brain injuries.
Common Types of Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
The leading cause of non-traumatic brain injuries are strokes. However, some of the more common and preventable causes include the following:
Unfortunately, many drowning accidents result in fatalities. These fatalities are especially prevalent amongst children under age of 15. According to the Center for Disease Control, the CDC, twenty percent of drowning fatalities occur in children under the age of 15.
These types of injuries are the result of asphyxiation due to submersion in water. Asphyxiation is the medical term for suffocation, which occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen accidents. The brain is cut off from fresh oxygen when the face is submerged in water.
Those who survive drowning accidents are often left with devastating and irreversible brain injury that may result in long-term disabilities such as the loss of basic motor functions, partial or complete memory loss, short-term memory problems, and learning disabilities. These individuals often require around the clock medical care and attention that can cost millions of dollars over their lifetime.
There are many other types of anoxic brain injuries that include choking accidents and suffocation during fires due to fumes.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals and Other Neurotoxins
Exposure to high concentrations of neurotoxins can have devastating effects on the brain. Neurotoxins are matters, including a variety of toxic chemicals, that are poisonous to the brain and can cause the destruction of brain tissue. Exposure to neurotoxins is especially dangerous for young children as the neurotoxins can adversely affect the development of the brain. Your brain can be exposed to neurotoxins through the air you breathe, the food you eat, the liquids that you drink, and even the medications that you take.
Complications During Surgery and Medical Malpractice
Advancements in surgical methods have greatly reduced the number of people suffering brain damage during surgery. Sadly, physicians are still human and make mistakes while performing surgical procedures. Mismanaged blood clots can form after a surgery and affect the normal operation of the brain causing irreparable damage and even death in some instances. Other examples of medical malpractice that can lead to brain damage include:
- When a physician misses or fails to diagnose a brain hemorrhage during emergency room visit.
- Improper stroke management – Strokes are caused by the sudden blockage of a brain artery. Physicians must be able to diagnose and begin treating a stroke within a four to six-hour window. The longer the blockage is left undiagnosed and untreated, the more the brain suffers. Often, patients present doctors with the symptoms of a stroke but are not provided with the proper treatment within the small-time window.
- Under, over and incorrectly dosing anesthesia can lead to blood pressure fluctuations that can cause serious brain injury.
Symptoms of Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Although non-traumatic brain injuries are acquired differently than traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the symptoms are much the same. These conditions can start out small but are capable of snowballing into devastation. These symptoms can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in appetite
- Mood and personality changes
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of coordination
- Convulsions and seizures
- Sensitivity to light
- Vision problems
- Speech problems
- Memory loss
- Concentration problems
- Increased levels of aggression
- Learning disabilities
Miami Brain Injury Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to a drowning accident, medical malpractice, or exposure to toxic chemicals it is important to seek proper medical attention and work with an attorney who understands what you are going through. Contact a Miami personal injury lawyer for a free consultation at (305) 694-2676. We handle cases throughout Florida and can help you or your loved one obtain the compensation needed to provide for a life-changing brain injury.