When an injury damages specific sections of the brain, the nervous system is unable to send standard signals to the body. A coma is defined as a “state of prolonged unconsciousness.” It may be caused by traumatic head injury, stroke, brain tumor, drug or alcohol intoxication, or even an underlying illness, such as diabetes or an infection.
Comas can last for weeks or even years, and doctors have no way of guessing how long a patient may be in a coma. Some patients may never wake up and remain in a persistent vegetative state.
Why Brain Injuries Cause Comas
Not all brain injuries lead to comas. However, the more severe the brain injury, the higher the chance of leading to a coma. Whenever someone loses consciousness after suffering a traumatic brain injury, there is a chance they may not wake up. Symptoms and signs of a coma include:
- Irregular breathing
- Reduced brainstem reflexes
- No ability to move arms or legs beyond basic reflexes
- No general response to pain
- Closed eyes and pupils that are unresponsive to light
Someone may fall into a coma if physical or chemical changes occur in the brain. Additionally, when the part of the brain needed for consciousness sustains damage, the person may not regain consciousness until that area is healed.
When the brain suffers physical damage, a side effect could be falling into a coma. Brain injuries can break the brain’s structure, preventing necessary signals to the nervous system. Depending on the injury and the area of the brain injured, the brain may lose its ability to keep the person awake even while keeping the body alive.
The brain depends on certain chemicals for proper functioning. A brain injury may block vital chemicals from parts of the brain. When the brain cannot receive enough oxygen or nutrients, it cannot process signals needed to power an alert state of mind. If swelling is present near the brainstem, the flow of chemicals slows down so much that the brain only has enough to keep the body alive and breathing.
3 Severity Levels of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injury refers to injuries relating to the brain, skull, and scalp. The severity of the injury depends on the type of injury and the location of the injury. There are three severity levels when it comes to traumatic brain injuries.
Mild TBIs are characterized by loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. However, loss of consciousness doesn’t need to occur, and victims may only appear confused or disoriented. Medical tests may not show the brain is injured. Mild TBI requires doctors to look closely at the victim’s mental functioning when diagnosing mild TBI and concussions.
A moderate TBI is characterized by a loss of consciousness that may last a few hours. The victim may also experience confusion for a few weeks. Physical, cognitive, or behavioral complications may last for months or may be permanent.
Severe TBIs come from crushing blows or penetration to the skull and brain. This level of injury is life-threatening. Victims are unlikely to return to the life they were accustomed to living.
Work with Our Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to another party’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation. Any form of traumatic brain injury can have life-altering consequences for victims and their loved ones.
Attorney JG Winter understands how complex traumatic brain injury claims can be. As a seasoned TBI attorney, he understands how to build a strong claim for his clients to receive the fair compensation they deserve. When you partner with the Law Offices of JG Winter, you can be confident that your claim is in good hands. To schedule a consultation, contact us here or by calling (844) 734-2626.