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Brain injuries caused by hypoxia

Medical researchers learn more about the human body all of the time and pass on their discoveries to medical professionals everywhere, including those here in Delaware. For instance, it was discovered that the human brain begins to die after it has been without oxygen for approximately six minutes. However, irreversible brain injuries can occur when it is deprived of oxygen for at least three minutes.

The brain needs a continuous flow of oxygen in order to function properly. The lack of oxygen to the brain is called hypoxia. Any number of medical conditions can cause brain hypoxia such as irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest or stroke. Other causes include suffocation, carbon monoxide poisoning and injuries to the brain, among others.

Victims of brain hypoxia exhibit symptoms that range from memory loss to seizures to comas. In some cases, a medical mistake can be the root cause of hypoxia. Numerous tests can be performed to determine whether a patient is suffering from this life-threatening condition. However, if a doctor fails to recognize the symptoms and perform the appropriate diagnostic tests, the condition can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. Even if it is properly diagnosed, without swift and proper treatment, the results could be the same.

Delaware residents who believe they or a deceased family member suffered brain injuries due to undiagnosed hypoxia -- or hypoxia caused by a medical mistake -- could exercise their rights to file medical malpractice claims. If the evidence shows that the treatment received by the victim was substandard, the court could consider an award of damages. Monetary restitution can help with the financial losses caused, but perhaps more importantly, a ruling that medical malpractice occurred could help save the life of someone else.

Source: healthline.com, "Brain Hypoxia", Chitra Badii and Marijane Leonard, Accessed on Sept. 4, 2016

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