Traumatic damage to the brain may be the most devastating injury a person can sustain. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs in one of two ways. One way is when a person’s head is rapidly thrust into an object, causing the brain to rattle inside the skull. The other type of traumatic brain injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain. As opposed to congenital brain injury, when the brain is damaged before or at the time of birth, traumatic injury results from some traumatic assault on brain tissue after a person is born.
Symptoms Following TBI
How hard the head is struck, how much brain tissue is injured and where the injury occurs will determine the severity of the injury. TBI can range from mild to severe.
Some symptoms of mild TBI may include:
- Remaining conscious
- Losing consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
- Blurred vision
- Tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Sleep pattern changes
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Problems with memory, concentration, or thinking
Severe TBI may be characterized by appearance of some of the same symptoms as above, plus:
- A headache that worsens and does not let up
- Repeated vomiting or constant nausea
- Inability to wake up from sleeping
- Dilation of the pupils of the eyes (either one or both)
- Slurred speech
- Weakness or numbness in the limbs
- Loss of coordination
- Increased signs of confusion, restlessness, or agitation
How Is TBI Treated?
Someone with a traumatic brain injury should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible to minimize further damage to the brain.
Today there is little that can be done to reverse any brain damage that has already occurred. The object of treatment is to stabilize someone so they don’t get worse. The three most important factors in the initial treatment of TBI are:
- Ensuring adequate blood flow to the brain
- Sustaining proper blood flow
- Keeping blood pressure at normal levels
Diagnosis and prognosis are determined by doing imaging procedures such as X-rays of the skull and neck to find out if there are bone fractures or the spine is unstable. These tests can help doctors diagnose and predict how well a patient might do. In cases of moderate to severe injury, the following are done to support the patient:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Rehabilitation that includes programs designed to treat every patient individually, including help in the following areas: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatric and psychological support and social services that can connect the patient and family with community resources and organizations
How Do You Determine Prognosis?
Determining how well an individual patient will do depends upon the results of diagnostic tests showing the extent of the injury as well as the care the person receives. Prognosis is based upon the extent and location in the brain of the injury and a patient’s age and general health.
About half of patients with severe TBI will need surgery to eliminate or mend brain tissue that has developed blood clots or is bruised.
TBI can result in:
- Problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning)
- Deficits in sensory processing such as losing the ability to see, smell, hear, feel (touch), and taste
- Problems communicating including expressing themselves and understanding what is said to them
- Changes in behavior or mental health, including depression, personality changes, aggression, being socially inappropriate, and acting out
Serious TBI can produce stupor and unresponsiveness, although the patient is still able to be aroused by a sudden stimulus such as a sharp pain. Coma and vegetative state are other reactions to TBI. These patients are completely unconscious, unresponsive, unaware and cannot be aroused. If someone remains in this state for more than a month, they are said to be in a persistent vegetative state.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Persons can suffer TBI from many causes. These include a car accident, visiting or working on a construction site, being in a fight, being hit by a car while riding a bicycle or walking across the street, diving into the shallow end of a pool, or slipping and hitting your head.
If someone you love has suffered from TBI, you understand its devastating consequences. The disabilities are almost always permanent and life-threatening. If the injury was due to the negligence of someone else, you might recover some of the expense for care for the injured patient by seeking the services of a personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer can help you determine if you have a legitimate case to sue someone for being negligent or causing the injury. For years, the Miami personal injury lawyers at Baron & Herskowitz have been successfully helping injured individuals and their families recover some of the costs for medical care, pain and suffering. To find out if we can help you, please contact our office today.