When the brain gets injured, it fills with fluid and swells like other body tissue. However, because the skull surrounding it is hard, the brain has nowhere to expand as it swells. The pressure inside the head increases, which can prevent blood passage to tissue and cause further injury to the brain.
Brain damage can happen from natural causes or it can happen through being injured by someone else. If you or a loved one suffered brain damage that was caused by abuse or neglect in a nursing facility, you should get advice from a lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, therapy, rehabilitation costs, and for pain resulting from the injury.
Severe or traumatic brain injury is often caused by a sudden, violent blow to the head. Any force that penetrates or fractures the skull may cause severe injury. Tissue damage may occur from destructive shock waves, from bone being pushed into the brain, or when forces cause the brain to collide against the inside of the hard skull. Bruising of the brain and bleeding cause injury in parts of the brain closest to the point of impact.
The brain is made up of delicate soft tissue floating in fluid within the skull and is protected by three layers of membrane. Since brain tissue is soft, it can be compressed, pulled, and stretched, and it can move around inside the skull, resulting in injury.
Causes of Brain Damage in Nursing Homes
In a nursing home situation, brain damage can happen to patients from slip and fall injuries, bath injuries leading to near-drowning, obstruction of the airway through choking on food, toxic exposure to chemicals, heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, and electrical shock. Brain damage can also happen when patients are neglected and not watched or cared for properly, or through errors made by healthcare personnel, or from patients being deliberately abused.
Symptoms of Brain Damage
Symptoms from brain injuries vary depending on the area and severity of the damage. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the injury occurs, while others may appear until days or weeks later.
Many people with significant brain injury will experience changes in their thinking skills, or difficulty focusing and processing thoughts. Language and communication problems, and changes in behavior and emotions can cause frustration, conflict, and misunderstanding for the individual, family members, and care providers.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Blurred vision.
- Slurred speech.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Weakness or numbness in the extremities.
- Loss of coordination.
- Emotional or behavioral problems.
- Ringing in the ear.
- Bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell.
- Sensitivity to light or sound.
If injuries are on the left side of the brain, there may be:
- Difficulties understanding language and speaking.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Impaired logic and sequencing difficulties.
- Decreased control over right-sided body movements.
If injuries are on the right side of the brain there may be:
- Visual-spatial impairment.
- Visual memory deficits.
- Inattention to the left side of the body.
- Decreased awareness of deficits.
- Decreased control over left-sided body movements.
A severe brain injury may cause the individual to experience an unconscious state, or coma. Widespread damage to the brain can result in:
- A vegetative state where individuals are unaware of surroundings, but may open their eyes, make sounds, respond to reflexes, or move.
- A minimally conscious state where consciousness is severely altered but there are some signs of self-awareness or awareness of one’s environment.
- Brain death, an irreversible condition with no measurable activity in the brain and the brainstem.
Get Help From Our Lawyers
If you or a family member suffered brain damage due to nursing home abuse or neglect, the team of lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is here to help. We are here to fight against nursing home neglect and elder abuse on your behalf.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will cover the costs of your case and only charges fees for cases where we secure a settlement or jury award. You only pay if we win, so contact us today for a free consultation at (800) 842-6336.