Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) take place every 21 seconds in the United States resulting in 50,000 deaths each year. Non-fatal TBI can often cause irreversible damage and permanent alterations to the brain. People with TBIs can suffer from emotional, mental, and physical problems for a long time after their injury.
Factors Affecting Prognosis for Traumatic Brain Injury
Prognosis is generally based on early findings, such as the Glasgow Coma Scale score and other factors. It is possible for head injuries without an open wound that may seem trivial outwardly to result in long term damage. It can take months and years for people to recover their emotions, behavior, and cognition. People with serious traumatic brain injury could suffer from permanent changes.
Other factors that determine the prognosis include:
Mild injuries, such as concussions that don’t result in unconsciousness recover within a few days. Moderate to severe TBIs may take anywhere from a few days, weeks to months.
Understanding Post-Concussive Syndrome
Headaches are a common and the longest symptom of a concussion. They are usually located on the side that got injured and is musculoskeletal in nature. Few patients develop the post-concussive syndrome, which involves additional symptoms that may last for a few months to years.
This includes migraine-like headaches and behavioral changes, such as stubbornness, irritability, suspiciousness, and argumentative. Treatment for post-concussion symptoms involves treating symptoms and allowing the brain to heal naturally.
Coma Severity and Length
The length of the coma and the time taken to recover are directly correlated. Comas that lasts seconds to minutes usually entails a recovery period of a few days to weeks. Comas lasting several weeks can take months or years to recover mental, emotional, and physical suffering fully.
Doctors can prevent lengthier recovery times by providing medications as early as possible to reduce brain swelling. The entire brain gets impacted when there is swelling even if limited to one tiny portion. Brain cells get to work quickly when swelling is minimized. This helps in limiting overall brain damage.
Over time, healthy brain parts begin compensating for damaged parts through a process called brain plasticity.
Hypoxia and Hypotension can Delay Recovery
People with traumatic brain injuries often have independent findings of hypotension and hypoxia. Hypotension is a serious condition found in 35% of people with TBI. Low blood pressure increases the risk of fatality by 150%. Brain cells can easily get oxygen-starved and die or get damaged, which causes herniation of brain parts, a secondary swelling, and further brain damage.
The prognosis for Concussions and TBIs in Children
Children are at a higher risk of concussions and other forms of brain injuries from car accidents, child abuse, falls, and playground incidents. Most research studies show that children with mild TBIs resolve post-concussive symptoms within three months. Generally, there are no post-injury effects on cognitive development or behavior.
Emotional and Mental Deficits Can be Long Lasting
Most people suffering from traumatic brain injuries experience cognitive defects. This can be in the form of memory loss, concentration troubles, and other cognitive defects. Some types of impairment can be a long-lasting affecting performance at work.
Doctors may recommend neuropsychiatric testing, involving memory tests, IQ tests, writing, and reading comprehension to assess the extent of the deficit. Emotional changes are quite common after TBIs as well. Symptoms include post-traumatic anxiety, stubbornness, overall irritability, and post-traumatic depression.
Types of Medical Specialists Involved in Treating TBI
1. Trauma ICU Staff
You may be transported to a Level I trauma center if you suffered massive injuries to the head. Trauma ICU is only found in level I trauma centers and takes care of the center’s most critical patients. Apart from the specialized doctors taking care of you, there will be a dedicated trauma nurse watching over you.
Trauma nurses are responsible for monitoring vital signs and providing medications among several other jobs. They are also responsible for carrying out the suction of the endotracheal tube or tracheostomy tube at regular intervals if you are on a ventilator or any other life support system.
Trauma ICU has a speech and swallowing specialist to help patients learn to eat and speak after being on the ventilator for long durations. Muscles responsible for swallowing become weak because of the endotracheal tube. You may have trouble swallowing clear liquids and food for some time. The specialist is responsible for evaluating whether you should be kept on thick liquids for some time.
2. Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists are medical specialists that work alongside physical therapists. They help in improving brain functioning after traumatic brain injuries. Occupational therapists work to improve daily living activities, such as turning a faucet, writing a letter, or manipulating a pair of scissors or a pen. They work with small motor skills and make for an important part of the therapy team.
Occupational therapy is involved in helping a patient adjust comfortably to their home surroundings and carry out everyday activities without getting help from someone else.
3. Physical Therapists
Physical therapy involves helping patients achieve the regular functioning of their large motor movements. This includes sitting, standing, walking, getting out of bed, getting out of a chair, and toileting. Physical therapists and occupational therapists work closely to help patients regain normal lives. However, the extent of their accomplishment depends greatly on the level of brain injury.
Physical therapists list out daily activity goals and help their patients carry them out. Certain physical therapists work exclusively with patients suffering from severe TBI damage.
4. Speech and Swallowing Therapists
Many patients have trouble swallowing and speaking following their brain injury. Speech and swallowing therapists have extensive experience related to the throat and mouth. They can deal with a wide range of conditions, including loss of speech functions.
People with TBI may lose a portion of their speech centers that may cause them to forget how to speak. They may need to relearn to speak words by using new parts of the brain through brain plasticity. This is generally easier in younger children as opposed to mature adults.
Neurologist will be your lead physician after sustaining a traumatic brain injury. The neurologist will be involved in your care from the very start. This is especially true if your brain trauma does not involve a hematoma or any other surgical condition. Neurologists specialize in disorders of the nervous system. There are many neurologists that attain higher education to subspecialize in traumatic brain injuries.
You may be given medications to reduce the swelling of your brain by the neurologist after extensive tests. Mannitol and steroids are common medications provided after traumatic brain injuries. Mannitol helps the brain drain fluids by getting it to pass through the kidneys. Steroids help in reducing and preventing brain inflammation.
You may need a neurosurgeon after brain trauma if the incident resulted in the formation of hematoma or a blood clot. Neurosurgeons are trained to handle brain surgeries and can take care of such complications. Epidural hematoma and subdural hematoma is possible following a brain injury.
A subdural hematoma is a blood clot between the dura mater (tough mother) covering of the brain and its surface. Epidural hematoma is a blood clot between the dura mater and the skull occurring because of leaky blood vessels.
Neurosurgeons need to act quickly regardless of the hematoma type to save a life. They have to reduce extra pressure on the brain caused by the blood clot.
Neuropsychologists help with brain disorders related to psychology, behavior, and mental health. Traumatic brain injuries often result in alterations to behavior, memory, and thinking. Neuropsychologists help in determining the kind of alterations that have taken place. They make recommendations based on their experience and knowledge of the treatment plan.
Accomplished New York TBI Attorneys to Help You Recover Compensation
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries often require lifelong psychological and physical therapy. These therapies result in astronomical medical bills. Traumatic brain injuries also prevent one from going back to work. This can leave you and your family in a lurch with non-existent or reduced income.
The traumatic brain injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you with an honest and thorough case review. We don’t mince our words and if there is a case, you can count on us to recover the maximum possible compensation for you. We work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t have to pay any legal fees until we acquire monetary compensation for you.
Our skilled and dedicated lawyers have collected millions in personal injury claims on behalf of thousands of clients. You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences because of somebody else’s negligence or wrongdoing. We can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your pain and suffering.
Get in touch with the lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP if you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury. We have the funds to investigate the cause and legal knowledge to hold the at-fault party(s) accountable. We have built a reputation for protecting victim’s rights.
Speak with a skilled and experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer today in New York by calling at 212-344-1000.
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