Surgery for a Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

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January 23, 2019
Edward Smith

Surgery for a Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Children are vulnerable and need to be protected. Some of the top killers of children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New York Times, are unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. When it comes to accidental injuries, many of these come from car collisions. According to a recent article that was published by the New York Times:

  • The most commonly cited reason for a fatality for children under 15 is an unintentional injury.
  • Under the categories of unintentional injuries, auto accidents are the most common cause.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, about 11 children were killed in car accidents every week.
  • This number excludes kids who were struck by motor vehicles, those who were killed in motorcycle accidents, and those riding in trailer beds.
  • In most cases, children were not wearing their seatbelts, and many others were riding in the front seats of cars.

Many more were in car accidents involving alcohol. Because children are smaller, they are more vulnerable to suffering serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision. In some cases, these injuries could require emergent surgery.

Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: Emergent Surgery

A research study was recently published discussing the treatment options for children who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Of note, common causes of a pediatric traumatic brain injury include physical abuse, sports, auto accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian injuries. Researchers reviewed several cases and found that most children required emergent surgery due to a traumatic brain injury for:

  • A growing bleed inside of the skull
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • An impending herniation
  • A retained foreign body

In the study, the surgery for these children came in the form of an emergent decompressive craniotomy. The idea behind this surgery is that the cause of the increased intracranial pressure (often brain swelling or bleeding) is relieved. This can prevent an intracerebral herniation, which ultimately results in death. In these cases, the decompressive craniotomies were successful, and all of the children survived. Unfortunately, survival doesn’t always equate to a full recovery following a TBI in a child.

Watch YouTube Video: Zander’s Story – Traumatic Brain Injury. This moving video tells the story of how 18-month-old Zander recovered after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Long-Term Consequences of a Childhood TBI

Children’s brains are still developing into adolescence and early adulthood. Therefore, any injury that takes place during this time could derail this developmental process. Ultimately, this might lead to long-term complications. Some of the consequences of a pediatric traumatic brain injury could include:

  • Permanent intellectual disabilities that might make it difficult to finish school or maintain gainful employment.
  • Issues related to sensory function and perception, including chronic pain.
  • Changes in personality and mental health problems.
  • Motor functions related to mobility, talking, reading, writing, and feeding oneself.
  • Hearing or vision loss.

Even though there are physical and occupational therapists who can provide assistance, many of these long-term complications wind up being permanent. It can be tough for parents to see their once-healthy child struggle with basic activities of daily living.

Contacting a Personal Injury Law Firm

No parent expects their child to suffer a life-altering injury. When it happens, families are placed under a tremendous amount of stress. This comes from logistical issues, financial problems, and uncertainty regarding what the future holds. During these times, meeting with an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer can help a family find comfort. A lawyer can help by:

  • Acting as a steady, objective presence that can help facilitate decision-making during a stressful time.
  • Looking at the accident reports to make sure that the fault has been assigned appropriately.
  • Working with accident re-constructionists to ensure that the mechanism has been recreated correctly.
  • Helping family members seek damages related to the emotional and physical toll of the accident.

Sacramento Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer. Children are vulnerable to suffering serious injuries in car accidents. If your child has suffered severe head injuries in a car accident, call me today at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I am pleased to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

See our past verdicts or settlements here.

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Emergent Pediatric Cranial Decompression:

Image Attribution: Myriams-Fotos on Pixabay/ Emergent Pediatric Cranial Decompression.

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