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What Are Causes and Effects of Brain Stem Injuries?

Posted in Personal Injury

Brain stem injuries are extremely serious. An injury that affects this part of the brain can have permanent consequences for a victim, including trouble controlling body movement and paralysis. If someone else’s negligence causes a brain stem injury, the responsible party could be held accountable by the victim through an Albuquerque brain injury claim.

What Is the Brain Stem?

The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It is the link between the cerebrum of the brain and the spinal cord and cerebellum. It is located at the top of the spinal cord and is made up of a column of nerve tissue. The brain stem is part of the central nervous system. It regulates certain body functions, including breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The brain stem is also responsible for controlling facial sensations, eye movements, swallowing, hearing, balance, reflexes and coordination.

Symptoms and Effects of a Brain Stem Injury

An injury to the brain stem can disrupt its ability to carry electrical signals to the rest of the body. This can result in a long-term or permanent loss of certain body functions and abilities. Many victims are diagnosed with long-lasting brain damage that may never be fully reversed after suffering brain stem injuries. Brain stem damage can result in changes to any of the following:

  • Balance and stability
  • Facial control and sensation
  • Memory
  • Motor function
  • Mouth and throat function
  • Personality
  • Reflexive actions
  • Respiratory system
  • Sleep and consciousness
  • Tear production

Symptoms associated with brain stem injuries often include dizziness, lack of coordination, blurred vision, insomnia, slurred speech and trouble swallowing. While people can make full recoveries from brain stem injuries, some victims suffer irreversible debilitation. In the most severe cases, a brain stem injury can cause brain death (a vegetative state), coma and death.

Common Causes of Brain Stem Injuries

The brain is a delicate organ that can suffer serious damage in a variety of circumstances. Many brain stem injuries are caused by jolts, bumps or blows to the head or skull. These are known as traumatic brain injuries since they come from a source of external trauma. Common examples are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents that involve head injuries
  • Motorcycle and bicycle accidents (with or without helmets)
  • Falling accidents with blows to the head or neck
  • Penetrating brain injuries, such as stab wounds or gunshots
  • Extreme motion of the head or neck (diffuse axonal brain injuries)
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Medical malpractice, including birth injuries

Many accidents and incidents that lead to brain stem injuries are preventable. They are caused by human error and negligence, meaning the failure to act with proper care. In these situations, the injured victim may be eligible for financial compensation after being diagnosed with a brain stem injury.

Your Rights After Suffering a Brain Stem Injury in New Mexico


Brain stem injuries often give victims the right to file personal injury lawsuits. This is a civil claim that can allow an injured accident victim to hold one or more parties financially responsible (liable). A brain stem injury case seeks compensation to help a victim pay for related medical bills, ongoing care, therapies and rehabilitation, medications, lost wages, lost capacity to earn due to a disability, and more. A victim may also be entitled to pain and suffering damages for the intangible ways in which a brain stem injury has impacted his or her life.

If you or a loved one gets diagnosed with a brain stem injury after a preventable accident in New Mexico, don’t hesitate to contact The Fine Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer. We can help you understand and protect your legal rights.