Consequences of Pituitary Damage in a Car Accident
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Countless consequences can arise when someone suffers a traumatic brain injury in any type of accident. One of the overlooked effects is damage to the pituitary gland. This loss can have a significant number of impacts on a person’s quality of life.
The pituitary gland is a small organ that is situated on the bottom of the brain. It helps control numerous critical bodily functions by secreting molecules called hormones. These hormones travel throughout the bloodstream of the body and help regulate many vital functions. The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus, another essential gland in the brain, which releases chemical signals that bind to the pituitary and control the rate and manner in which the pituitary gland secretes its own hormones. Examples of functions controlled by the pituitary include the sleep/wake cycle, bodily temperature, milk production, mood, weight, and judgment. Some of the tasks that the pituitary gland controls are even essential to life itself. Despite the small size of the pituitary, it serves an integral process to the human body. Unfortunately, like other parts of the body, serious injuries can lead to damage to the pituitary. Injury to the pituitary can lead to a loss of secretion or regulation of the hormones that it produces, a problem called hypopituitarism.
Case Report: Pituitary Gland Injury
A woman was driving late at night when she lost control of her car. She veered off the road and collided with a tree. The airbags deployed and, fortunately, she was wearing her seatbelt. A driver behind her stopped and saw that she was unconscious, so emergency personnel was called. They quickly arrived on the scene and were worried that she had suffered a catastrophic personal injury. She was transported to a local hospital where a rapid physical exam was performed. She received IV fluids and a blood transfusion. She was then taken to radiology so that imaging scans could be done. An MRI revealed that she had suffered a small bleed in her brain which did not require operative repair. She eventually recovered but did not remember what had happened in the car accident.
Numerous Consequences Due to Loss of Important Functions
A short time later, she gave birth to a child. She had to rely on formula to feed her baby because she was not producing any breast milk. She went to see a doctor to find out why. When the physician learned that she had been involved in a car accident recently and had a small brain bleed, he realized that she was suffering from hypopituitarism. Her pituitary gland was not producing enough prolactin, a hormone, and therefore her breasts were not being stimulated to produce milk. Other potential consequences of hypopituitarism include:
- Loss of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone: Loss of this hormone in hypopituitarism can mean a severe decrease in the amounts of sex hormones in the human body. This can make it challenging for a teenager to go through puberty and can impact someone’s sex drive.
- Loss of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Loss of TSH can send someone into a hypothyroid state. If there is no TSH, the thyroid is not stimulated to make thyroid hormone. This means that someone could suffer from significant weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and an overall lack of energy.
Help from a Lawyer
The consequences of hypopituitarism can be severe, mainly when they occur due to a traumatic injury. It is essential for people to understand that even though these consequences arise some time after the injury, they are still related to the accident. If these injuries occur due to someone else’s negligence, such as drunk driving, that person should be held responsible. Examples of costs that the guilty party could be asked to cover:
- Property Damage: They could be asked to pay to replace the other person’s vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.
- Health Costs: Not only would they need to cover the costs related to the acute injury but if someone requires hormone replacement as a result of the accident, they could be asked to include this as well.
- Pain and Suffering: These are costs related to the magnitude of the emotional trauma that the other person suffered. This can be a challenge to quantify, which is why it is essential to have an experienced lawyer provide support and guidance.
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