Traumatic Brain Injury and Loss of Consciousness
Even though there have been great strides in the fields of diagnosis and treatment of head and brain injuries, these still have the potential to irreparably change someone’s life. Those who sustain a serious TBI can have issues with chronic pain, weakness in their arms or legs, and even paralysis. Unfortunately, these serious head injuries are far more common than most people know. Some statistics on traumatic brain injuries that were recently published in the Journal of Brain Injury include:
- TBIs are among the leading causes of both death and disability not just in this country but also all over the world.
- Each year, around 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of a TBI.
- These lead to nearly 300,000 hospital stays and more than 50,000 deaths.
- Use of alcohol, recreational drugs, or illegal substances is highly associated with the incidence and prevalence of traumatic brain injuries.
- TBIs are more common among toddlers, teenagers, and the elderly.
These numbers show that traumatic brain injuries are very common and can impact anyone at any time. Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand what the recovery process could entail. A research study was published analyzing the severity of traumatic brain injuries, loss of consciousness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Research: Meeting with Survivors of Motor Vehicle Accidents
In the study that was published in the Journal of Brain Injury, a team of researchers identified individuals who had survived a serious auto accident. They looked for individuals who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Some of the symptoms of a TBI include:
- Chronic headaches for days, weeks, or even months after the car accident
- Memory problems including difficulty forming new memories or issues remembering old ones
- Emotional lability marked by rapid shifts in mood between happiness, anger, and sadness
- Chronic pain
- Paralysis of one or more extremities
Ultimately, the researchers identified over 100 individuals who had suffered a TBI in a motor vehicle accident. Of note, close to 40 of these individuals had developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their car crash. Some of the signs and symptoms of PTSD include:
- Trouble sleeping at night
- Flashbacks to the scene of the accident
- Difficulty getting back into a car without significant anxiety
Of note, many people who have PTSD also develop other mental health problems including depression and generalized anxiety disorder. The researchers then met with each of the 100+ individuals mentioned above.
Neuropsychological Testing: The Study Results
The researchers then conducted neuropsychological testing with each of the individuals who had sustained a TBI in a motor vehicle accident. Some of the examples of neuropsychological testing include memory challenges, problem-solving, vocabulary testing, copying complex drawings, and even word association. Then, the researchers graded the performance of the individuals on their neuropsychological tests in an effort to draw conclusions about their recovery. Some of the results include:
- The results of the testing showed that those who had lost consciousness during their car accident had much slower responses on the speed challenges.
- The researchers also found that those who had lost consciousness in their accident had much slower verbal recall than those who had not.
- There was also a relationship between losing consciousness in an auto accident, suffering a TBI, and developing PTSD.
There are some significant conclusions that can be drawn from these results. Because those who had lost consciousness performed more poorly on these challenges than those who had not, it is easy to conclude that their recovery process is progressing more slowly. This means that those who lose consciousness in an auto accident are more likely to suffer a severe TBI. They could also be at a greater risk of developing PTSD. This can delay their return to work, school, and daily routine.
The Significance Moving Forward: Loss of Consciousness Following a Traumatic Brain Injury
This research study shows the severity of losing consciousness in a motor vehicle accident. It is one of the signs of a serious TBI. Anyone who loses consciousness in an auto accident must be checked for a TBI so that their treatment process can start as quickly as possible. It could give them a greater chance of returning to their pre-injury baseline. Some of the tools that are used in the diagnosis of a head injury include:
- A detailed physical exam to look for any signs of a head impact.
- Physical examination testing the strength of the extremities, the speed of the reflexes, visual field deficits, and hearing problems.
- A CT scan to identify any skull fractures or brain bleeds.
- MRI scans to look for damage to the brain tissue itself.
If the doctor feels that a traumatic brain injury is present, he or she will begin the treatment process.
Watch YouTube Video: The Road to Recovery Following Brain Injury. This video shows what happens when someone sustains a brain injury and follows their journey from the hospital through rehabilitation and recovery.
Contacting a Head and Brain Injury Lawyer
Unlike many other parts of the body, the brain does not regenerate if the neurons have been damaged. This means that many of the complications and comorbidities of traumatic brain injuries could last for the rest of someone’s life. Therefore, it is important for everyone who has suffered a TBI to meet with an experienced brain injury attorney in San Francisco. Some of the ways that an experienced head and brain injury lawyer can help include:
- Acting as an objective presence who can help families make difficult decisions during a tough time.
- Closely looking through the records of the accident to ensure that all of the factors have been considered.
- Reviewing the mechanism of the accident with trained reconstruction professionals to ensure that it is recorded correctly.
- Helping individuals and their loved ones pursue damages that are related to their traumatic brain injury, its complications, and the recovery process.
- Shifting a case to trial when needed.
Most importantly, everyone who has suffered a TBI needs to know that they are not alone. There are trained professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand. Contact a Bay Area traumatic brain injury lawyer today. You and your family members could receive a substantial financial settlement.