Last month an article was published in Neurosurgery-a leading medical research publication-on a new study which found an independent connection between brain damage and oxygen deprivation following a traumatic brain injury. The researchers explained how these injuries remain a leading cause of death, particularly among young people. Considering that younger community members are generally healthy, they are most likely to die in accidents like car crashes-traumatic brain injuries are often caused by those collisions.
The doctors explained that the consequences of these injuries are often made worse by damage that is delayed and develops hours to days after the actual injury. Doctors have long been working to better understand this secondary damage and figure out ways to prevent or minimize it. This new research has found that brain hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) is one of the causes of the harm. Therefore, there may be much to gain from pursuing strategies that minimize that hypoxia and return oxygen to the brain as soon as possible. For example, the researchers suggest that oxygen level monitoring should be conducted at the bedside of all victims of severe traumatic brain injuries. In that way, brain hypoxia may be diagnosed and corrected immediately when it arises, ultimately preventing irreversible brain damage. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys know that preventing the harm is of course the ideal, because there remains a significant difference in life for those who suffer some brain damage and severe brain damage.
The research published last month was the first to strongly suggest that this oxygen deprivation was an actual cause of the secondary damage, outside of other possible causes. Other research had suggested that hypoxia was seen when the damage occurred, but its causation had yet to be conclusively found. However, this latest work suggests that the effect of the hypoxia is independent of others-such as intracranial hypertension. The study which reached these conclusions involved the examination of 103 patients who has suffered traumatic brain injuries. All of the patients had various around-the-clock monitoring, including that which detects oxygen levels in the brain. The ultimate damage suffered by these victims was then measured and compared against others factors-such as their oxygen levels, intracranial hypertension, and cerebral perfusion pressure. Researchers found that damage seemed to be connected to the hypoxia outside of the possible other factors.
The Chicago injury lawyers at our firm understand the significance of this line of research. Hopefully, the hypoxia effect will be further confirmed, and steps will be taken to implement the findings into improved standard care protocols for these victims. Once medical professionals are aware of the effect of oxygen deprivation following injury and have the tools to prevent the hypoxia, then there is no reason not to do what is necessary to use the knowledge to help patients. Failure to adequately take advantage of this information is a form of negligence if it would be reasonable for the professionals to take certain steps which could prevent increased patient harm. So many families have their lives turned upside down by the significant and permanent consequences of these brain injuries. All research which results in better medical tools to help minimize at least some of that permanent harm should be welcomed.
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