The facts you should know about brain injuries

Brain injuries are complex and unpredictable and it is important for people to gain more understanding about them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the top two leading causes for injury to the brain are falls and motor vehicle accidents. The most recent data showed that brain injury was connected to "2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations or deaths" in 2010. For people living in New York, a brain injury can create unexpected challenges. Therefore, it is important to learn a little more about them.

Medical treatment

While other conditions can often be successfully treated and healed, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that doctors have few options to rely on when someone comes in with a head injury. If the injury is serious enough to have caused a coma or unconsciousness, the biggest concern is to make sure that the body systems are receiving enough blood and oxygen. The victim will be administered a computed tomography scan, placed on a ventilator, subjected to X-rays and/or placed on support machines.

For less serious injuries, there is often little that can be done except to put the victim on rest and prescribe a pain killer for the headache that often accompanies the trauma. Treatment is focused on preventing more damage so it is important that people with a brain injury avoid activities that require any kind of complex thought.

Every brain injury is different

Just as every person is unique, every brain injury will be different. The Betty Clooney Center, a brain injury treatment facility, states that people can experience symptoms that are severe while others may show very subtle signs. For example, a person who hits her forehead may lose her ability to speak while another person may just have a severe headache and some nausea.

In some cases, it may take a few days for symptoms of a brain injury to appear or a matter of minutes. A person may start acting differently, struggling to comprehend what is going on around him or her. Other symptoms that indicate a concussion has occurred include the following:

  • Communication loss
  • Cognitive processes decrease
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of balance
  • Personality changes
  • Confusion

Memory loss is a stronger sign but may not always occur. Additionally, people may move slower, experience slurred speech or lose their ability to move certain limbs.

Long-term prognosis uncertain

While many people are able to fully recover from a mild traumatic brain injury, this is not guaranteed. The Brain Trauma Foundation points out that while doctors are inclined to be optimistic when it comes to outcomes, there is no predictable prognosis when it comes to brain injuries. This is especially true for people with serious traumatic brain injury if they are unable to reach a specific outcome. The only thing that doctors can do is suggest appropriate therapy with the hope that the patient will respond to it in a positive way.

New York victims of negligence could suffer the effects of an injury for years. Therefore, to make sure they receive the right amount of compensation, they may want to talk to an attorney about their situation.