Choking can cause an acquired brain injury (ABI). When something becomes lodged in your throat and cuts off your ability to breathe, this also limits or cuts off the oxygen supply to your brain. When a brain does not get the oxygen it needs, the brain cells begin to die.
ABIs can cause lasting impairments, including issues with cognitive, physical, psychological, and social functioning. Many people recover most of their previous abilities, but some are left with significant impairments for the rest of their lives.
How Can Choking Cause an Acquired Brain Injury?
Choking causes acquired brain injuries by depriving the brain of oxygen. There are a number of situations that can lead to choking and an ABI. These include:
- Food becoming lodged in the throat
- Choking because of another health condition such as a previous stroke
- Swallowing a foreign object
- Strangulation and other manual forms of airway obstruction
Any time someone chokes, it is important to administer first aid right away. The sooner the food or object is out, the sooner their brain can begin to receive oxygen again. The Heimlich maneuver, and other tactics, can help to remove many upper airway obstructions in adults. There are also other methods that work well on children. When others do not know the victim is choking, or when these methods do not work, the risk of an ABI increases. All instances of choking should be considered medical emergencies.
Signs and Symptoms of an ABI After Choking
Sometimes, people may not even realize they suffered an ABI while choking. In mild injuries, they may lose consciousness only momentarily, if at all. In moderate to severe injuries, the loss of consciousness is more significant.
ABIs can cause different types of injuries, depending on their severity and the areas of the brain affected. In general, the long-term effects of an ABI are difficult to predict. Choking affects each person’s brain differently, and their symptoms and recovery will be just as unique.
Some ways an ABI can affect a person who choked include:
- Disorientation and confusion
- Poor concentration
- Slowed response times
- Loss of short-term memory
- Severe fatigue
- Problems with dizziness and balance
- Visual problems including double vision
- Other sensory issues such as loss of sense of smell or ringing in the ears
- Emotional and behavioral changes
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Insomnia or inability to stay awake
- Mobility and coordination issues
Treatment and Rehabilitation After an ABI From Choking
All ABIs require brain injury treatment, and moderate to severe ABIs often call for a period of rehabilitation. The type of therapy, the length of therapy, and the completeness of the recovery from brain injury all depend on the unique facts of your case.
Mild Acquired Brain Injuries
Mild brain injuries usually heal relatively quickly and there are few lasting significant impairments. Victims may return to work within a few weeks, although it could take a few months to heal fully. Some people suffer ongoing symptoms even with mild injuries.
Moderate Acquired Brain Injuries
Moderate brain injuries usually require hospitalization and victims may need to go to inpatient rehabilitation after their release from the hospital. At the very least, they will likely need therapy to rebuild strength, regain lost abilities, and learn how to live with any limitations they continue to suffer.
Severe Acquired Brain Injuries
Some people who suffer severe brain injuries may spend days, weeks, or even months in a coma. Doctors may need to do tests to ensure they have brain activity during this period. Once they wake up, they may need to go to an inpatient rehabilitation center for intensive therapy. They may need to relearn even the most basic tasks such as walking, speaking, and self-care. Some people who suffer a severe TBI have permanent, significant impairments.
Recovering Compensation After a Choking ABI
Choking-related acquired brain injuries can support legal action under certain circumstances. For example, imagine:
- Your child choking on a broken part of a defective toy; or
- Choking on improperly prepared food; or
- Choking on a foreign object in your food; or
- Your aging loved one choking in a nursing home because caregivers did not follow proper protocol for their care.
In all of these circumstances — and many more — another party’s negligence played a role in the choking incident and caused your ABI. If choking caused your acquired brain injury, let Pintas & Mullins evaluate your case for free. For more than two decades, our brain injury lawyers have fought for compensation for personal injury accident victims. During your free case evaluation, we can:
- Review the facts of your case
- Explain your rights
- Explore legal options for recovering compensation
Call Pintas & Mullins today to get started: 1-866-611-BASC.