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The human brain is not only fascinating in its complexity, but is one of the most important organs in the human body. Essential to living a normal life, the brain acts as the command center for our cognition, physical abilities and emotional and psychological functions. Naturally, an injury to the brain can cripple a person for the rest of their lives.
The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen in order to perform normally. If there is a diminished amount of oxygen, brain cells can die and brain damage can occur. This is referred to as hypoxic brain injury. Although rare, medical professionals sometimes act negligently, making critical errors that can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Hypoxic brain injuries are often caused by medical negligence due to surgical errors, medication mistakes, general anesthesia complications, labor and delivery injuries, failure to monitor and treat extremely low blood pressure, intubation errors, and the poor use of heart-lung machines during coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. Depending on the part of the brain affected and how long a person was without oxygen determines if someone will be able to recover. Sadly, oxygen deprivation typically causes brain injuries that can lead to a lifetime of impairments and disabilities.
A person with a hypoxic brain injury may suffer from cognitive and behavioral changes, but also physical problems. Again, dependent on the area of the brain effected and the level of the hypoxic damage, different symptoms may appear including dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, chorea, athetosis, tremor and Lance-Adams Syndrome.
If you don’t recognize Lance-Adams Syndrome, or LAS, you’re not alone. In fact, there are less than 150 reported cases worldwide. LAS is an uncommon neurological disorder mostly seen in patients who have undergone a cardiorespiratory arrest, later regaining consciousness, then developing quick and involuntary muscle jerks, known as myoclonus, sometime after. As the development of emergency medicine grows and the increasing number of patients survive a hypoxic brain injury, the amount of LAS diagnosis will gradually grow.
Currently, LAS is often misdiagnosed causing inappropriate therapy and delayed treatment. Making an early diagnosis and properly managing LAS is positively related to improving the patient’s functional outcome, minimizing the patient’s disabilities and improving the prognosis.
Similar to the tremor effect of Parkinson’s disease, Lance-Adams syndrome makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. With the quick and involuntary muscle jerks, patients have lost their sense of balance and fine motor skills. Living with LAS takes a toll on one’s life physically, financially and emotionally, often leading to sever depression as their sense of identity is gone. Patients of LAS often need years of rehabilitation, counseling, ongoing medical care and financial assistance.
When there is a loss of oxygen during surgery or from another medical incident, the cause is often medical malpractice. With any medical negligence case you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney. There are very few law firms that have LAS experience, but we can help you find one that gives you the best chance of winning a case and understands this rare complication.