Our Chicago brain injury lawyers have repeatedly explained on this blog how every brain injury is unique, and the ultimate effects that it has on the lives of victims varies tremendously. When someone suffers a broken arm, it is pretty clear what the consequences will be. They will have limited use of the arm while it is in a cast, and they may have certain vulnerabilities in the arm depending upon its healing. However, in the vast majority of cases the harm and ultimate outcome with the broken bone is the same.
That is not the case with brain injuries.
Instead, victims who seemingly suffer similar head trauma may have wildly different consequences. Some may have temporary problems that return to normal soon. Others may have significant personality, memory, communication, and functioning problems that last indefinitely. In many ways, medical professionals are still in the early stages of understanding the mystery of the brain and the effect of brain injuries. However, seemingly every day new information is being uncovered by medical researchers that offers guidance on why certain brain injuries have different effects than others. Hopefully this new information will lead to a series of improvements in currently available treatments for these victims.
For example, late last week US News & World Report discussed new research which revealed that the level of oxygen deprivation following a traumatic brain injury is a significant barometer of long-term disability and death for the victim. The new study was published in this month’s Neurosurgery and involved monitoring the oxygen supply in about one hundred brain injury victims. Out of that group, forty three had significant complications classified as resulting in severe disability, a permanent vegetative state, or death. The researchers found that the greater the decrease in oxygen supply (known as hypoxia), the worse the result for the patient.
It is important to note that this hypoxia effect was found independent of other factors. Therefore the brain oxygenation levels are clearly a significant an independent cause of poor outcome following a traumatic brain injury. This new information will likely affect current treatment for brain injury victims. The lead researcher of this latest study explained that “the results support a recent guideline revision calling for monitoring of brain oxygenation during intensive care for patients with severe head injury.”
Our Illinois traumatic brain injury lawyers know that this type research has implications on future lawsuits filed by brain injury victims. For example, once new information is uncovered about the best practices for a certain medical condition, then it may affect the reasonableness standard to which medical professionals are held. Most suits involving victims with these injuries are rooted in negligence law where the reasonable person standard (or a variation of it) applies. That standard is altered depending on the knowledge of a certain community at the time. In the medical community, if doctors change their practices to account for new information about treating an ailment, then that change will affect the legal analysis when a patient suspects that they did not receive the level of care to which they were entitled.
In Other News: Two of our companion blogs–The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.
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