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Some signs and some possible causes of a coma

Most people in Allegheny County have a general idea of what it means to be in a coma. Perhaps a neighbor, a loved one, or even an individual him or herself has experienced a coma. This scary medical condition is often the result of traumatic brain injury, and completely change an individual's life. This blog post will provide a little bit of information about comas. For more complete medical information - including information about specific medical situations - a doctor should be consulted.

Coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness that can be the result of a number of possible health problems. Signs of a coma include irregular breathing, closed eyes, no voluntary responses of limbs, no voluntary responses to painful stimuli, and depressed brainstem reflexes such as unresponsive pupils under light exposure. A person in a coma needs medical assistance immediately.

Traumatic brain injury is one possible cause of coma. A loss of oxygen supply to the brain is another possible cause. Loss of oxygen could be the result of a near-drowning, a stroke, or a heart attack. Another possible cause of coma is exposure to toxins such as lead or carbon monoxide. This names just a few of the many factors that can contribute to the onset of a coma. When an individual falls into a coma, doctors will immediately order a CT scan and blood work in an attempt to determine the cause of a coma and begin treatment.

Comas rarely last longer than a month or so. However, those individuals who do not regain consciousness after this period may enter into a persistent vegetative state.

A coma and any accompanying brain injury is sometimes caused by the negligence of another party. Depending on the specific circumstances, it may be possible to recover any medical expenses, long-term care expenses, and lost wages incurred by the victim or the victim's family by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent individual who caused the damages. This process can be hotly contested, though, so brain injury victims may want to consider discussing their case with a qualified legal professional.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Coma," accessed on March 4, 2017

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