Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury

Brain pains

The human brain requires a constant flow of oxygen. When the flow of oxygen to the brain is disrupted, the brain can no longer perform essential biochemical processes. The result can include cognitive impairment as well as life-altering psychological and physical injuries. Depending on the extent of oxygen deprivation and the parts of the brain affected, the results can be catastrophic.

What Is Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury?

Hypoxic-anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is starved of oxygen. The diminished oxygen supply can lead to serious, life-changing injuries that include cognitive and physical impairments.

A hypoxic brain injury refers to a partial lack of oxygen, while an anoxic brain injury refers to an injury caused by a complete lack of oxygen.

The brain consumes roughly one-fifth of a human body’s total oxygen supply. The brain requires oxygen to transmit electrochemical impulses between cells, and to maintain the ability of neurons to receive and respond to these signals.

Without oxygen, brain cells will start to die within a few minutes. The disruption in the brain’s ability to send and receive electrochemical impulses impairs the activity of neurotransmitters, which regulate brain function and emotional response.

Oxygen deprivation can cause serious injuries. While recovery from a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury is possible, the degree of recovery will depend largely on the extent of the injury and the parts of the brain that were affected.

In general, the more complete the oxygen deprivation the more severe the injury will be. Similarly, the length of time the brain is deprived of oxygen will affect the nature and extent of the brain injury.

Hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries can result in catastrophic injuries that have a profound impact on victims, and their families, friends, and caregivers. Treatment for brain injuries can be complicated and expensive, as people who have suffered a brain injury often require substantial medical care and rehabilitation. Many suffer from long-term disabilities.

Common Causes

Hypoxic-anoxic brain injury during surgery is, unfortunately, one of the most common types of surgical medical malpractice. Hypoxic-anoxic brain injury during surgery occurs when the patient’s brain is deprived of oxygen during a surgical process.

Surgical hypoxic-anoxic brain injury can be caused by:

  • Failure to treat blood loss
  • Failure to diagnose and treat a heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to monitor pain management pumps
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics

Newborns can suffer hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck during childbirth.

In non-surgical cases, someone can suffer from a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury as a result of a swimming pool accident, due to carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, or a drug overdose.


Hypoxic-anoxic brain injury often begins with loss of consciousness, and is then followed by a persistent vegetative state. Yet even when a person has regained consciousness, the individual might suffer from symptoms including:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Decline in executive function, such as poor decision-making, difficulty focusing attention, and problems reasoning and making judgments
  • Difficulty with words (anomia)
  • Visual disturbances
  • Lack of coordination (ataxia)
  • Inability to perform familiar physical movements like brushing the teeth (apraxia)
  • Jerky movements, trembling extremities, or other abnormal movements (spasticity, rigidity, and myoclonus)
  • Weakness in the arms and legs (quadriparesis)

What To Do If a Family Members Suffered a Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury

If you or someone you love suffered from a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury, you may be eligible for compensation including payment for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Costs of rehabilitation
  • Long-term disability
  • Loss of past and future wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • The cost of long-term care
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship

Brain injuries are complex and require the assistance of a skilled and experienced brain injury attorney. A brain injury attorney will investigate to identify the cause of the hypoxic-anoxic brain injury, and will review the victim’s medical records to understand the nature and extent of the brain injury.

Some brain injuries are caused by medical malpractice, while others are the result of a swimming pool accident, or caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, or a drug overdose.

Whatever the cause of the hypoxic-anoxic brain injury, an experienced brain injury attorney can help by investigating the cause of the victim’s injuries, and working with experts such as a neurologist, a radiologist, a neuro-psychologist, and a life care specialist to evaluate the extent of the victim’s injuries and how the victim and his family will be impacted in the future.

Robenalt Law. Fighting for Compensation for Brain Injury Victims.

If you or someone you love suffered a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury, the brain injury lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help. Our lawyers have the experiences, resources, and expertise to investigate your case, identify the responsible actors, and hold them accountable for the harm they caused.

Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, learn why clients choose us, then contact our Ohio office today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing insurance companies and corporate defendants at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help the families of people who have been injured or killed by the negligence of others.

Categories: Types of Injuries

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