What is a Non-Traumatic Brain Injury?
When most people think of a brain injury, they picture an accident involving blunt force trauma to the brain. There are, however, types of brain injuries that do not involve blunt force trauma. These types of injuries are called “non-traumatic brain injuries,” and they may have effects on the brain that are just as damaging as traditional TBI. Get the facts on non-traumatic brain injury and what to do if you or someone you love has suffered one.
Types of Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
Where non-traumatic brain injury occurs, the Scarlett Law Group stands ready to assist you in your time of need. If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, you need the assistance of the Scarlett Law Group. Call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.
The different types of non-traumatic brain injuries include:
- Meningitis: Meningitis (both bacterial and viral) is an inflammation of the meninges which cover the brain. Usually, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is contaminated or “seeded” through an infectious process. Given that CSF bathes the brain and the meninges, increased intracranial pressure results from the inflammation. Inflammation can also occur as a result of toxic exposure, such as where myelogram dye is injected into the CSF.
- Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus generally refers to an accumulation of liquid on the brain. It can occur in cases of meningitis where the patient’s system for circulating CSF is impaired. The blockage can also occur from a number of other events including bleeding, swelling, tumor or congenital deformation. Increased intracranial pressure results from the blocked fluid.
- Encephalitis: An inflammation of brain substances called encephalitis. Generally, the cause of the inflammation is an infectious process, but it can also be caused by allergy.
- Subdural hematoma: Subdural hematoma refers to blood clots or bleeding that develops between the brain and the dura matter that covers the brain. Subdural hematomas can be treated in a number of different ways depending on the severity of the bleed. For example, where the bleed is small in size, or has stopped, it is sometimes possible to treat therapeutically with drugs as opposed to more invasive methods of treatment, which could include craniotomy with evacuation.
- Epidural hematoma: These hematomas are formed when the brains outer covering or dura matter is stripped away from the skull by blood from lacerated blood vessels. These “bleeds” generally occur within within minutes after the injury although some may develop in the first day and even enlarge over time. We’re these bleeds are posterior end near the brain stem they are particularly dangerous as the patient may be conscious until the end stage of development. Epidural hematomas are thought to be more dangerous than subdural hematomas, although this is of course a generality.
- Aneurysm: Where due to congenital anomaly (in most instances) or trauma, a blood vessel wall is caused to balloon outward and aneurysm is the result. Most aneurysms are extremely dangerous as the individual is asymptomatic until the aneurysm ruptures. Size of the aneurysm can vary from the very small to the large. Large aneurysms may exert pressure on surrounding areas of the brain.
- Encephalopathy: Where brain dysfunction results from a non-infectious pathology, encephalopathy is said to occur. For example, where dementia follows an acute trauma to the brain, a patient can be diagnosed with static encephalopathy. Encephalopathy can likewise result from toxic exposure.
- Stroke: Stroke refers to the process where due to blood vessel occlusion or blockage, oxygenation to the brain is compromised. The area of the brain which the blood supply feeds dies or otherwise becomes compromised. Most strokes do not involve bleeding although some are hemorrhagic. Strokes or also known as “cerebral infarctions”.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs where bleeding enters into the area between the arachnoid membrane and the dura matter. The arachnoid membrane is a fine web-like layer surrounding the brain. These hemorrhages can result from trauma or from ruptured blood vessels. Seizures in victims are common as subarachnoid hemorrhages release blood products into the CSF.
- Ischmia: Ischemia refers to decreased blood supply. Cerebral ischmia is extremely dangerous and in many cases involving severe brain damage, is a secondary damage resulting in death. Secondary ischemic insults to the brain worsen the outcome. In many instances there is a post dramatic decline in cerebral blood flow due to stretching and deformity of brain vessels, post traumatic changes in microvascular structure, cerebral vasospasm, and arterial hypotension. Likewise, on a microscopic level, metabolic changes following brain injury can lead to ischemia.
Leaders in Representing Brain Injury Victims
The Scarlett Law Group represents a wide variety of clients sustaining brain injury as a result of a multitude of causes. While traumatic brain injury (or brain injury resulting from trauma) remains a focal area of interest for the firm, the Scarlett Law Group continues to represent a large client base sustaining brain injury from non-traumatic causes.
For example, in the case of Wright v. St Rose Hospital, et. al. , Randall H. Scarlett represented then seven year old Stephanie Wright who was rendered catastrophically brain injured and quadriplegic at 8 months of age you as a result of an emergency room physician’s failure to diagnose her H-Flu meningitis. The infection caused hydrocephalus as well as increased intracranial pressure, midline shift, and severe brain injury.
Despite the child’s weight loss, fever, lethargy, and irritability, the physician failed to perform a lumbar puncture, and failed to perform any blood work or other diagnostic testing, simply discharging her with a diagnosis of middle either infection (otitis media). After deliberation, the Hayward, California jury rendered its verdict on behalf of Stephanie Wright which totaled $26,053,000. The verdict is one of the largest medical malpractice awards in the State of California.
If you have suffered a brain or head injury, contact the Scarlett Law Group to learn more about how we can help you pursue the compensation you need to recover.