Surgical complications that may lead to serious, extensive and permanent brain damage may be a more common problem than many patients might expect. The brain is a very complex and delicate organ and it does not take much to damage or destroy critical nerve cells and tissue. Even seemingly minor procedures carry with them some element of risk and for patients who have experienced a brain injury due to surgical complications, the resulting loss of function, memory issues and decreased quality of life can create many problems. The services of a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer may be essential for ensuring those who have suffered a brain injury can take whatever steps are necessary in order to deal with the situation.
Surgical procedures can be very hard on the human body and even a text-book procedure may still result in complications. The following list showcases some of the most common and potentially serious issues which may result in damage to the brain or other organs.
A drop in heart rate is a common enough occurrence during surgery, one that may be caused due to medications, anesthesia, stimulation of specific cranial nerves other causes. While a temporary drop in heart rate may not be a serious issue, prolonged or severe bradycardia may result in decreased blood flow to the body. Less blood means lower levels of oxygenation and, once saturation levels reach a certain point, brain cells begin to die.
Low blood pressure during a surgery can result in the same decreased levels of blood flow and oxygenation as bradycardia, even though the heart may continue to beat normally. While surgeons take great pains to monitor and maintain blood pressure throughout a surgery, a hypotensive episode may still pose a risk to patients.
Blood loss during a surgery is a very serious threat. While surgeons typically use whole blood, packed red blood cells and other fluids in order to compensate for the blood loss that may occur throughout a procedure, excessive bleeding may still result in considerable damage to the brain and other internal organs. Hemorrhaging may even occur post-surgery in the event that a mistake was made during the procedure.
- Respiratory Issues
Many procedures require patients to be made fully unconscious through use of an anesthetic. Placement of an endotracheal tube is performed by an anesthesiologist, respiratory therapist or other medical professional in order to ensure that the patient’s airway does not become compromised during the surgery. Misplacement of the tube, delays during the process of intubation or issues with the respirator which uses positive pressure in order to force oxygen through the tube and into the lungs can all result in decreased saturation to the point where brain damage may occur.
- Secondary Infections
Maintaining the sterility of an operating theater is of paramount importance. Exposure to bacteria and other pathogens during a surgery carries with it a very high risk of subsequent infection. While it is common practice to prescribe a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic during and after a surgery to minimize such risks, such efforts are not always effective. Infections which may spread to the point where they pose a risk to the brain as well as those that may infect brain tissue directly are never a complication that should be looked upon lightly.
Consequences of Brain Damage Due to Surgery
The human body has no way to replace brain cells, so those that have been damaged or killed due to surgical complications have the potential to cause significant harm and permanent disability. Depriving the brain of the blood and oxygen it needs for even a few moments can result in loss of cognitive ability, decreased motor-skills, memory issues, problems with speech, personality changes, and other issues that can vastly decrease quality of life. Even premature death is not uncommon for patients who experience serious brain damage following a surgical procedure.
Seeking Legal Help
If you or a member of your family have experienced complications from surgery that may have lead to brain damage or other issues, seeking legal assistance from a qualified professional is of the utmost importance. Trying to recover the financial compensation that may be owed due to medical malpractice can be an uphill battle and those who lack the right legal resources may find themselves struggling just to obtain an insurance claim. Having a personal injury lawyer in your corner helps to ensure that situation is able to be addressed and resolved as quickly and successfully as possible.
Scheduling an initial consultation will provide you with the opportunity to learn more about your situation, as well as the options and solutions that may have the most to offer.