The brain stem sits at the top of your spinal cord. When you sustain a brain injury, it has the potential to impact multiple bodily functions. From your senses to your motor function, these injuries can alter your life.
Moreover, in a severe accident, it’s possible for someone to be forced to live with debilitating impairments. When someone’s negligence leads to your injury, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney in your area. With an advocate on your side, you have someone to pursue your best interests and help you understand your rights.
What a Brain Injury Can Impact
Your brain stem connects your brain and spinal cord. When it sustains trauma, it can interrupt a range of crucial bodily functions.
- Blood flow
- Heat regulation
- Heart function
Our brain stems are hubs for communication flowing between the brain and other parts of our bodies. Damage to the stem has the potential to interrupt this communication, leaving you without the signals that tell you you’re hungry, tired, thirsty, etc. You might not even recognize when you need to go to the bathroom.
Typically, the impact of a brain injury depends on where the trauma occurs. There are three structures that compose the brain stem. Trauma to each area can affect you in different ways.
- Medulla Oblongata: damage here impacts respiratory functions, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Midbrain: trauma to this area can impact your hearing vision, motor control, sleep patterns, and temperature regulation.
- Pons: Damage to this part of the stem can result in issues with taste, hearing, eye movement, bladder control, posture, and balance.
Any trauma to the brain stem has the potential to impair and disable you in different ways. In certain cases, people have trouble speaking or walking. Additionally, severe damage can become permanent.
Causes of Brain Stem Injuries
Injuries to the brain stem can occur in accidents or from intentional acts of violence. Often, people involved in slip and falls or car accidents can sustain a head injury. Unfortunately, even seemingly minor head trauma can cause damage.
Here are a few common causes behind brain stem injuries.
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Car accidents
- Sports injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
Any event that causes trauma to the head has the potential to damage the brain. In order to minimize the long-term impact of a brain injury, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Brain Stem Injuries
The symptoms of these injuries vary with the location of the trauma and the severity of the injury. Additionally, symptoms aren’t always immediate, sometimes developing after days or even weeks. In certain cases, symptoms may also worsen over time.
That’s why it is so important to seek medical attention. The earlier you identify an issue, the sooner your doctor is able to treat it.
Here are a few common symptoms people experience with brain stem injuries.
- Balance and coordination issues
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Problems sleeping
- Changes to heart rate
- Issues with motor function
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty breathing
- Slower reflexes
- Loss of senses
- Jerking eye movements
In some cases, brain stem injuries also result in complete paralysis, leaving people only able to move their eyes. In some severe cases, they slip into comas.
Treatment & Recovery
Treatment for these injuries varies with the severity and type of injury. In some cases, people require extensive rehabilitation while others recover their full abilities with minimal treatment.
Typically, these injuries require a hospital stay and may require surgery to repair or minimize the damage. When a patient is stable, they may go home or into a care facility for therapy. Unfortunately, the costs that result from these treatments are often substantial. Recovery can take months or even years. Moreover, some people never fully recover and are unable to return to work or their preferred hobbies.
When someone else’s negligence causes the accident that results in someone’s brain injury, the victim may be able to pursue compensation to cover damages and losses. With an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you have someone to investigate your claim and build a case.
However, it’s important to recognize that there are time limits on how long you can wait to pursue a claim. In Texas, for instance, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. While there are some exceptions to these rules, they are quite strict.
If you want to see whether you have a claim against someone else, schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer in your area and start the process soon.