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Medical Negligence

Seeking Justice for Negligence in Anoxic Brain Injury Claims

Written by Leanne Devine, Associate & Birth Injury Solicitor


June 18, 2024

Anoxic brain injuries, which result from a lack of oxygen to the brain, can have devastating and life-altering consequences. This type of injury is particularly tragic when it occurs due to medical negligence during critical moments such as childbirth or surgical procedures. Individuals who suffer these injuries and their families are often left to navigate a complex web of medical, emotional, and financial challenges. Understanding your legal rights and options for seeking compensation is crucial in these cases. Pursuing justice not only provides the necessary support for the affected individual but also holds medical professionals accountable, potentially preventing future instances of negligence. This article delves into the intricacies of anoxic brain injury claims, shedding light on the path to seeking justice and ensuring rightful compensation. 

Understanding Anoxic Brain Injury 


Anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, leading to significant and often irreversible damage to brain cells. According to Cerebral Palsy Guide, this can happen during childbirth if there are complications such as umbilical cord issues, prolonged labour, or medical errors that delay necessary interventions. Headway say that surgical complications, such as improper anaesthesia administration or failures in monitoring oxygen levels, can also result in anoxic brain injuries. Headway also say that the long-term effects can be extensive and varied, including cognitive impairments, physical disabilities, developmental delays, and emotional and behavioural challenges. In severe cases, individuals may require lifelong medical care and support, profoundly affecting their quality of life and placing immense emotional and financial strain on their families. 

Birth-Related Anoxic Brain Injury 


Anoxic brain injuries during childbirth can happen for several reasons, often related to complications that prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen. According to Cerebral Palsy Guide, Common causes include: 

  • Prolonged labour, where the baby is in distress for too long without enough oxygen.  

Medical negligence can play a significant role in these situations. If doctors or nurses fail to recognise and act quickly on signs of distress, or if they don’t follow proper procedures during delivery, it can lead to anoxic brain injuries. When medical professionals do not provide the standard of care required, it is crucial for families to understand their legal rights and seek justice for the harm caused. 


Anoxic Brain Injury Due to Surgical Complications 


Anoxic brain injury can also happen during surgical procedures if there is negligence in monitoring the patient’s vital signs. During surgery, it is critical for medical staff to keep a close watch on blood pressure, oxygen levels, and heart function. If these vital signs are not properly monitored, or if changes are not quickly addressed, the brain might not get enough oxygen. For example, if a patient’s oxygen levels drop and it goes unnoticed, or if blood pressure becomes too low without correction, the brain can suffer damage from lack of oxygen. Such negligence can lead to severe consequences, including long-term cognitive and physical disabilities, making it essential for medical professionals to maintain rigorous monitoring throughout surgical procedures. 

Other Causes 

While this article mainly focuses on anoxic brain injuries caused by birth-related incidents and surgical complications, it’s important to note that such injuries can also result from workplace accidents and public liability incidents. However, these types of claims are less common and usually have a lower value compared to those involving medical negligence. 

H2: Symptoms and Diagnosis of Anoxic Brain Injury 

Common symptoms of anoxic brain injuries include: 

  • Seizures 
  • Developmental delays 
  • Cognitive impairments, such as difficulties with memory, attention, and problem-solving.  

These symptoms can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury and the areas of the brain affected. According to Headway, diagnosing an anoxic brain injury typically involves a thorough medical evaluation, including neurological exams, brain imaging (like MRI or CT scans), and sometimes electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure brain activity. Prompt medical attention is crucial, as early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve outcomes. If you suspect an anoxic brain injury, seeking immediate medical care is essential to minimise long-term damage and provide the best chance for recovery. 

Pursuing an Anoxic Brain Injury Claim 

The process of an anoxic brain injury claim involves several key steps: 


  1. Initial Enquiry: When you submit your enquiry, our specialists will ask about your experience and its effects on you, helping us understand your situation comprehensively.


  1. Case Evaluation: Our medical negligence experts will assess your case to determine if it has merit. We will provide immediate advice based on this evaluation.


  1. Obtaining Records: If your case meets the criteria, we will request your medical records from your GP and hospital and start gathering evidence to support your claim.


  1. Medical and Expert Assessment: We will commission an independent report to determine if there was substandard care that led to your injuries. Experts will also evaluate your condition, future prognosis, and how the injuries impact your life.


  1. Negotiation: We will negotiate with the responsible party to seek compensation for your injuries and losses, both past and future. If negotiations fail, we may initiate court proceedings to have the court decide on the negligence and compensation.


  1. Compensation: If negotiations are successful, your compensation will be secured, providing you with the means to move forward and recover.


Throughout this process, our solicitors, specialising in medical negligence, will offer dedicated support, guiding you through each step with compassion and expertise. 


It is important to note that if a claim is being made for an anoxic brain injury, it should be done so within three years of the negligence taking place, or from you first became aware of the negligence. If the claim is fora child, you have up until and three years after their 18th birthday to make a claim. 

Gathering Evidence 


Evidence plays a crucial role in anoxic brain injury claims. Key pieces of evidence include medical records that detail the treatment received, expert opinions that assess whether there was a breach of duty and the extent of the injury, and witness statements that provide additional context and support. This evidence helps build a strong case by clearly demonstrating how the injury occurred and the impact it has had on the victim’s life, which is essential for securing fair compensation. 


Proving Negligence 


Negligence in legal terms refers to a failure to provide the standard of care that a reasonably competent professional would have provided in similar circumstances. In anoxic brain injury cases involving birth injuries or surgical complications, negligence applies if medical professionals did not act with the appropriate level of care, leading to the injury. This could include failing to monitor vital signs, not responding quickly to complications, or making avoidable errors during procedures. Proving negligence is essential in these cases to hold the responsible parties accountable and to seek compensation for the injuries sustained. 

Compensation for Anoxic Brain Injury 


Compensation for anoxic brain injury claims can cover a range of damages to support the individual’s long-term needs. This includes costs for ongoing medical care, therapy, and rehabilitation services, as well as compensation for lost wages and the loss of quality of life. Additionally, compensation can account for home modifications, assistive devices, and other necessary support. The amount of compensation varies case by case, depending on factors such as the severity of the injury, the impact on the victim’s life, and the complexity of the claim. Securing adequate compensation is crucial to ensure the individual receives the necessary care and resources for their recovery and future well-being. 

In the past we have secured £30,000 for parents who lost their baby boy, as they didn’t receive enough oxygen to the brain at birth. 

How Fletchers Solicitors Can Help 

Fletchers Solicitors are experts in handling anoxic brain injury claims related to medical negligence, especially in cases involving birth injuries and surgical complications. They are committed to providing personalised, compassionate support to clients and their families throughout the legal process. With their extensive experience and dedication, Fletchers Solicitors ensure that each case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism. If you or a loved one has been affected, contact Fletchers Solicitors today for a consultation and to discuss your options for seeking justice and compensation.