An acquired brain injury is any damage to the brain that comes about after birth from causes other than genetic disorder. There are two types of acquired brain injury: traumatic injuries and non-traumatic injuries. While injuries typically fall into one of these two categories, each injury can produce different symptoms that can make diagnosis challenging.
Open and Closed Acquired Brain Injuries
Health care providers classify traumatic brain injuries as open or closed. Open traumatic brain injuries occur when an object damages the brain after it fractures and penetrates the skull. Subsequently, the damage is usually limited to the specific parts of the brain where skull penetration occurred.
Closed brain injuries occur when an external forced causes the brain to move about violently within the skull cavity. This can be from a collision, shaking or a severe blow to the head. This type of injury is more common than an open head injury and usually causes damage to a broader area of brain tissue.
The brain can suffer two types of damage. Contusions are much like bruises on any other type of the body. They occur when the brain tissue bruises around the area where the skull was fractured. Contusions might also result from the brain shifting suddenly inside the skull cavity in a closed head injury. When the brain tissue strikes the skull interior, contusions can result.
Axonal injuries, often called diffuse axonal injuries, are most common at times when the brain and skull are shaken or jarred severely. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a type of axonal injury resulting from child abuse. The same injuries can happen in car accidents and falls. The energy that forces the skull forward is stronger than much of the tissue holding the nerves within the brain together. The brain’s movement causes the nerves to stretch and tear.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
Non-Traumatic brain injuries cover all other types of injuries that are not the result of blunt force or trauma. They include conditions such as stroke, diseases, tumors, toxicity and lack of oxygen. Usually, these causes are natural occurrences. Sometimes, however, they are because of medical mistakes.
Toxicity in the brain can also come about from medical mistakes or incorrectly prescribed drugs. Chemical substances can affect the central nervous system, altering the body’s metabolism, heart functions and blood supply. They can also interfere with the way the brain absorbs nutrients and can lead to dehydration. These injuries can be particularly difficult to diagnose since the patient may not be able to tell doctors about the medications they took or give other clues that might help doctors pinpoint the source of distress.
If you or someone you know suffers from traumatic brain injury, contact our attorneys. We have a caring and experienced staff that will review your case free of charge and answer any questions you have.