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What are the possible medical causes of a coma?

Most people in Bexar County probably know that a coma is a serious medical situation that requires medical attention. This blog post will provide some basic information about comas and their causes.

A coma is defined as a state of prolonged unconsciousness. A person in a coma requires immediate medical assistance in order to preserve life and brain function. When a person is brought to the hospital in a coma, the physicians will usually order blood tests and a CT scan to determine the cause of the coma and the appropriate treatment options.

What causes a coma? Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of coma. Traumatic brain injury is often the result of a car accident or violent act. Another cause of coma is lack of oxygen, which can occur in a near drowning or as a result of heart problems. Infections such as meningitis and encephalitis can cause swelling of the brain, which in turn can cause a coma. Exposure to toxins such as lead or carbon monoxide can also cause a coma. In addition, diabetes and drug overdose are other common causes of coma.

Very often, a coma is the result of another person's negligent act. Car accidents are an example. If a car accident is a result of another party's negligence, that other party may be legally responsible for the damages resulting from a victim's coma. Also, many acts of medical malpractice could result in a coma if a patient's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen due to negligent treatment. Legal options may exist for coma patients or their families.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Coma: Causes," accessed on June 5, 2016

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