Patients in hospitals sometimes have challenges that reduce the amount of oxygen they are getting. When the oxygen saturation in the blood is too low, they must be addressed immediately. This is considered an emergency because lack of oxygen can impact vital organs in the body. One that is particularly sensitive to a decrease in oxygen is the brain.
Cerebral hypoxia is the medical term for lack of oxygen to the brain. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including stroke, cardiac arrest, an asthma attack, hypotension, lung infection, respiratory arrest, drug overdose, or drowning. At the least serious end of the effect spectrum, the patient might suffer from a temporary decrease in motor function or troubles with memory. On the most serious end of the spectrum is the possibility of seizures or possibly brain death.
The brain begins to die in as little as five minutes without adequate oxygen. The longer the issue persists, the more seriously the brain is injured. From a medical perspective, any drop in oxygen is an emergency. This is why any patient who is at risk of this occurring, including those who are under anesthesia, must be constantly monitored.
When medical staff members don't react when signs of lowered oxygen levels appear, the patient can suffer from irreversible damage to the brain. This negligence might trigger a medical malpractice claim that seeks to compensate the neglected patient for the horrors they are having to deal with. If the patient passes away due to the cerebral hypoxia, the next of kin might opt to file a wrongful death lawsuit.