A coma can happen because of illness, but it can also result from a severe traumatic brain injury. When injury damages specific parts of the brain, the nervous system cannot send normal signals to the body. This causes the coma, in which a person loses consciousness and does not wake up for a long time. A coma can last for weeks or years, and doctors do not have any way to guess how long the coma will last. Some patients may never wake up from the coma and remain in a persistent vegetative state.
Why Brain Injuries Cause Coma
Not all brain injuries result in coma, but severe brain injuries are generally more likely to cause the condition. Any time someone is unconscious after suffering a traumatic brain injury, there is a chance he or she will not wake up. This might happen because of physical changes like brain swelling. Sometimes, it is caused by chemical changes that occur when an injury interrupts normal brain signals. In addition, when a part of the brain that is important to consciousness suffers damage, the person may not wake up until the area heals.
When there is physical damage to the brain, coma is a possible side effect. Brain injuries can break the normal structure of a brain. This stops the brain from sending signals to the nervous system the way it should. Depending on the type of injury and the area of the brain that is injured, the brain could lose the ability to keep a person awake, even while it can still keep the body alive. Some physical changes will heal quickly, while others might take a long time.
The brain also depends on certain chemicals for proper functioning. A brain injury can block vital chemicals from parts of the brain. The areas of the brain that control consciousness sometimes cannot receive enough oxygen or nutrients, making them unable to process signals normally or power an alert state of mind. If swelling is present near the brain stem, the flow of chemicals could slow down so much that the brain only has enough materials to keep the body alive and breathing.
Coma Treatment after an Injury
Since there are so many reasons why a person could fall into coma after a brain injury, there is no way to know how long the condition will last. The medical staff will work to keep the body healthy and safe from disease while the mind remains unconscious. A physical therapy routine may keep the patient’s muscles from becoming too weak while not in use. The medical staff will watch the patient carefully for any signs of consciousness.
If someone you love has become comatose due to a brain injury, you should talk to one of our experienced attorneys about your legal options. We can look at the situation with you and help you decide whether legal action is in your best interest. Contact us today.