Understanding Anoxic Brain Injuries in Children

By Tom Kiley on November 9, 2010

Watching your child struggle with anoxic brain damage can be heart wrenching. Many families affected by anoxic brain damage have concerns such as:

  • understanding what anoxic brain damage is;
  • how your child can sustain it;
  • how you treat such an injury; and
  • what will be the long-term circumstances you, your child and family will have to face?

With all the unknowns involved when your child experiences a traumatic injury such as anoxic brain damage, you will want to talk to a Massachusetts child brain injury attorney about whether you should file a claim in connection with your child’s injury.

Causes of Anoxic Brain Damage

Anoxic brain damage can occur in a child when the brain is deprived of oxygen, which can cause permanent brain damage. After a few minutes without a sustaining flow of oxygen, brain cells in your child will begin to die with permanent anoxic brain damage occurring after 5 minutes.

Many factors can cause the brain to receive inadequate oxygen such as:

  • respiratory arrest;
  • electrical shock;
  • drowning;
  • heart attack;
  • brain tumors;
  • heart arrhythmia;
  • extreme low blood pressure;
  • carbon monoxide inhalation;
  • poisoning;
  • choking;
  • compression of the trachea;
  • respiratory conditions that interfere with proper breathing.;
  • suffocation; and
  • illegal drug use.

Anoxic brain injuries are frightening to experience as a parent, but many families have gone through the same harrowing journey. With all the questions and challenges that develop from these kinds of injuries, speaking with a Boston child injury lawyer may help you to understand how these injuries can impact a family in the long term.

Chances of Your Child’s Recovery from an Anoxic Brain Injury

Although there are many factors that can contribute to the degree and rate of recovery from anoxic brain damage, the unknowns for what your child will have to go through with rehabilitation will surely be overwhelming for everyone in your family. However, identifying the scope of the anoxic brain injury will help you determine how long your child’s recovery process will be.

  • Mild Anoxic Brain Injuries – your child will most likely make a full or nearly full recovery. They may be able to sustain a relatively normal life without experiencing symptoms.
  • Severe Anoxic Brain Injuries – the chances for your child making a full recovery are likely to be minimal, where they remain in a coma or vegetative state.

Regardless of the scope of the anoxic brain injury, your Boston child injury lawyer can talk to you about the necessity of filing a Massachusetts child injury claim in connection with their injuries. An anoxic brain injury can have a lasting impact on your child and everyone in your family – understanding your rights at a time like this may help to alleviate some of the stress associated with this trauma.

Treating an Anoxic Brain Injury

If your child has sustained a brain injury, doctors will first determine what the cause was and the appropriate treatment.

If a stroke occurred because of lack of oxygen, the doctor will treat the stroke first.

If heart arrhythmia is the cause, the doctor will have to take the necessary steps to regulate the heart’s rhythm.

There are further efforts that will be made to prevent further brain damage on your child alongside treatments for the cause of the problem:

  • restoring normal oxygen flow to the brain;
  • keeping the patient cool to reduce further brain damage – high temperature in the brain happens during oxygen deprivation;
  • treat with steroids to reduce brain swelling – damage to the brain can occur from increased swelling;
  • barbiturates can reduce brain activity to allow tissue time to recover; and
  • anti-seizure medications will be used to control seizures if your child has had them as a result of the anoxic brain injury.

Doctors should give you and your family updates on how your child is doing. Don’t be afraid to ask every question you feel is necessary.

Placing Your Child through Rehabilitation

Your child will be able to begin rehabilitation once they are stable after the doctors have treated the anoxic brain injury. There are many trauma and support groups available to ease your family through the long and arduous process of rehabilitating your child following a severe head injury.

Rehabilitation during this period may include:

  • speech therapy;
  • physical therapy;
  • occupational therapy;
  • recreational therapy;
  • adaptive equipment training; and
  • counseling.

You are not alone during this difficult time. Communication with your family, friends and medical staff helping your child is critical in seeing a full recovery.

A Serious Brain Injury May Require Lifelong Care & Financial Support

If your child suffered a severe brain injury in a Massachusetts accident or while under the care of another, you should seek the guidance of a skilled Boston child injury lawyer before you sign any insurance claim forms, give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster, or agree to a settlement offer.

An inadequate settlement can leave you and your child ill prepared for the road ahead. Your child deserves a legal team experienced in handling child brain injury cases in Massachusetts and one that can ensure that he or she will receive fair compensation for his or her brain injury.

Schedule your FREE case evaluation today by calling 1-800-930-8145. You can also learn more about how to best handle your child’s injury by requesting a FREE copy of our Massachusetts child injury book.

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