Houston Chronicle Article: Alive Inside by Mike Hixtenbaugh

Across the country each year, thousands of people are wrongly labeled unconscious after suffering severe brain injuries.

Support Groups

Active Facebook Groups:

  • Anoxic Brain Injury Caregivers  -  This private group includes patients and caregivers.  The content is a mix of encouragement and information sharing.  So whether you are sitting in ICU hearing the term "anoxic" for the first time, or caring for a loved one and need advice, this group is a wealth of knowledge and care.  New members must request permission to join and be approved by current members. 
  • Anoxic Brain Injury Awareness  - Inspirational quotes and messages. 
  • Love your brain: Mom on a mission- Anoxic Brain Injury - Group created by Pamela Blaxton-Dowd, Mother of Anoxic patient and Author.  Includes sage wisdom and advice.
  • Anoxic Brain Injury: through love and faith - Page was created by a husband (survivor) and wife (caregiver) to chronicle their journey of love and faith.  The page includes a video blog with practical tips and loads of inspiration.
  • Kaleb's Fight - Page was created by a devoted sister of a noble member of the US Military who suffered an anoxic injury.  Her touching journal chronicles the highs and lows on the journey to recover.
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors and Friends - Sudden cardiac arrest survivor interaction and advice.

Other Groups/Foundations:

  • Brain Injury Association -   This organization provides various resources.  Although they are currently primarily focused on TBI, the leadership is firmly committed to including anoxic/hypoxic and ensuring they represent all brain injuries.
  • Just Fight Foundation -   The mission of Just Fight Foundation is to raise awareness, provide  training in emergency preparedness and life saving techniques, through  linking families in need to valuable resources during times of crisis  following a pediatric brain injury.
  • Brenna's Hope Foundation:  Coming Soon!  

Practice Guidelines           

  •  American Academy of Neurology practice guidelines for Disorders of Consciousness (updated August, 2018)




  • Owen, Adrian.  Into the Gray Zone,  Scribner, 2017.   A world-renowned neuroscientist reveals  his groundbreaking work with patients whose brains were previously  thought vegetative or non-responsive but turn out—in up to 20 percent of  cases—to be vibrantly alive, existing in the “Gray Zone.”

  • Blaxton-Dowd, Pamela.  Condemned to Die: Ask me how.  Tell me why.  An Anoxic Warrior Mother's Account.  Book details Brenna's valiant journey to recover from her sudden, medically  unexplained anoxic brain injury. After sixteen months, she joined hands  with Jesus and was restored to health in his kingdom. She passed along  the baton to her mother, to give voice to the deficiencies in our health  care system for all patients who suffer anoxic brain injuries. In her  honor, this is her story. To God be the glory.

Practical tips for caregivers

  • Get educated. I found support groups via Facebook right away.  People that  walked this journey before me were my greatest resource. 

  • Take notes. Write down  everything. Medications, changes in health, medical professionals names,  what worked, what didn’t and everything in between. Have your notes ready for doctor's rounds so that you can ensure productive conversations with  doctors. These note will also serve a purpose down the road so save them.

  • Video tape movement you feel is purposeful and progress. It may seem  strange at the time to record your loved one in a vulnerable place but I  promise these videos serve a purpose. Doctors only spend a short amount  of time with patients. They don’t get to see the other 23 hours and 55  minutes of the day. 

  • Find your support system. This is vital especially if you have children. Take help that is being offered.

  • Take care of yourself! Take breaks to eat or go for a walk to get fresh air and vitamin D. It’s imperative! 

  • Pray or meditate. You're really going to need this tip in those moments when you feel hopeless or like you can’t go on. 

  • Do not take “no” for an answer. Fight like hell when doctors try to make your loved ones case feel like a total loss.                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       By: Rebecca (Anoxic Warrior)

anoxic brain injurY


Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Definition

Damage to the brain, which occurs after birth and is not related to a congenital or a degenerative disease. These impairments may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.

                                                                                                                        --World Health Organization (Geneva 1996)

 Anoxic Brain Injury (AnBI) Definition: 

An anoxic brain injury is an injury that occurs to brain tissue due to oxygen deprivation. Whereas a hypoxic brain injury occurs due to insufficient oxygen to the brain, an anoxic brain injury occurs during complete and total loss of oxygen to the brain. 

 Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Definition :  

Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to  the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a  bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain  injury.

Causes of anoxic brain injury:

•Accidental prescription drug overdose

•Acute respiratory distress syndrome





•Asthma attacks

•Blood clots

•Carbon monoxide

•Chemical exposure

•Chemo therapy


•Decompression, low air pressure 




•Heat exposure

•Heart attacks



•Long QT Syndrome 

•Low air pressure

•Medically-unexplained occurrences


•Near drowning

•Opioid Abuse

•Positional/Pressure asphyxia 


•Post-surgical complications

•Potassium imbalance 

•Respiratory Arrest






•Sudden cardiac arrest

•Suicide attempts

•Toxic exposures

•Lead based paint

•Lead water pipes

•Smoke Inhalation

•Transverse Myelitis

•Unexplained causes