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What Are the Most Common Causes of Brain Death? Is It Similar to a Coma?

Brain death is defined as the irreversible loss of brain functions. Enduring a severe impact on the brain could potentially result in a blockage for the body’s blood supply to reach the brain. To make an appropriate diagnosis of brain death, a doctor must conduct tests.

A clinical examination will be done to confirm if the individual is not having any brain reflexes, along with having a difficult time trying to breathe on their own. In some cases, there could be spinal reflexes, which is normal after an individual’s brain is dead. As these tests are being done, the victim will be placed in a ventilator, which is a machine that helps them breathe to keep their heart beating.

Furthermore, there are special medications given to the patient in order to keep their blood pressure under control. Before the doctor confirms that the patient is brain dead, they will do whatever it takes to prevent the patient from passing away. If there is nothing left to do, the patient will have no chance of making a recovery and will be declared legally dead.

If your loved one passed away due to brain injury caused by another party, you may be qualified to file a personal injury claim for damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our brain injury attorneys are readily available to offer legal assistance. We will strengthen your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Causes of Brain Death 

Illnesses and accidents may cause brain death. These include:

  • Brain tumor,
  • Severe trauma impacting the brain,
  • Stroke,
  • Aneurysm, or
  • Anoxia.


  • No reaction to pain.
  • No response to light.
  • No blinking after the eye surface is touched.
  • No movement in the eyes when the head is moved.
  • No eye movement when water is poured into the ear.
  • No breathing done by the individual after the ventilator is turned off.
  • No signs of gag-like reflexes when the back of the throat is touched.

The electroencephalogram test will confirm if there is no brain activity occurring.

Brain Death vs Coma 

  • Brain death. The individual is no longer alive. Both the brain and the brain stem endure irreversible loss of brain functions. Reflexes may be noticeable around the spinal cord area even after the individual has been declared legally dead. Furthermore, they must use a ventilator to help them breathe in order for their heart to beat.
  • Coma. The individual is still alive. However, they are suffering from depressed consciousness while their eyes are closed. They may still be able to breathe and have motor responses. In certain circumstances, if the brainstem has been damaged, the patient will be required to use a ventilator to help them breathe.

Overall, an individual who is in a coma may come out alive, depending on their circumstances. If an individual gets out of a coma, then they may get medical treatment to help them with the recovery process. Those who suffer brain death will be declared dead with no chances of making it out alive.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you or a loved one were the victim of brain injury due to negligent acts committed by another individual, our skilled brain injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are paid until your case has been settled. Reach out to our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

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