Of all the potential injuries a person can sustain in an accident, traumatic brain injuries are some of the most frightening. There are several aspects of traumatic brain injuries that make them especially diabolical in nature:
- Brain injuries aren’t always apparent at the time of the accident and can manifest later
- These injuries can occur deep in the brain, making them hard to detect even for healthcare professionals
What are the Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Any violent blow or jostling of the head, such as whiplash during a car crash, a slip and fall or countless other potential types of accidents, can cause the brain to collide with the interior of the skull, potentially resulting in bruising, tearing, bleeding or other damage.
Traumatic brain injuries also occur when an object penetrates the brain, such as a piece of skull from a skull fracture, shrapnel from broken glass or metal during an accident or a bullet.
The extent of the injuries can vary widely, as well as the resulting symptoms and repercussions. Some of the following symptoms may manifest immediately following the accident, while others could take days or even weeks before the effects are apparent.
- Losing consciousness, which could occur for hours, minutes or even mere seconds
- Feeling confused, disoriented and generally dazed
- Headaches, nausea or vomiting
- Unusual drowsiness or fatigue
- Inability to sleep or sleeping more than one normally would
- Loss of balance, dizziness and vertigo-like symptoms
- Slurred speech, ringing in the ears, blurred vision or experiencing strange tastes and smells
- Difficultly concentrating
- Unusual behavior, mood swings, anxiety or depression
When Should You Go to the Doctor for a Head Injury?
If you, a friend, a loved one or a coworker ever experience any kind of serious blow to the head, it is absolutely imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Brain injuries can be insidious in nature; just because someone is acting normally immediately after the accident doesn’t necessarily mean there was no damage.
Potential Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the many terrifying aspects of traumatic brain injuries is the potential for it to permanently affect a person’s personality or cognitive functions. Just the thought of going through life with an entirely different consciousness is hard to fathom, but it’s something families of severe traumatic brain injury victims have to deal with every day.
Many people who are in comas, vegetative states or those suffering from locked-in syndrome, where a person is aware and awake but unable to communicate, were victims of some form of traumatic brain injury.
Other long-term health consequences could potentially include:
- Nerve damage
- Persistent swelling or fluid buildup
- Damage to blood vessels, leading to clots or other issues
Long-term cognitive or emotional consequences:
- Loss of memory and ability to learn, reason, concentrate or regulate one’s behavior
- Inability to organize, problem solve, think critically, multitask or make decisions
- Trouble with communication, including speaking, reading and writing
- Social difficulties such as an inability to pick up on nonverbal cues, emotions or appropriate behavior
- Emotional changes such as irritability, angry outbursts, mood swings, depression, anxiety or loss of empathy
Traumatic brain injuries have also been linked to an increased likelihood for developing degenerative cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia.
How Do I Know If I or Someone I Care About Has Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Diagnostic testing, which is often costly for the patient, is one of the few ways for medical professionals to reliably diagnose the extent of brain injuries. Computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are often used to see inside the brain in order to detect potential bleeding, blood clots, bruising or swelling of the brain tissue.
Treatment Methods and Rehabilitation
Many traumatic brain injuries require immediate surgery and medical attention, which can be quite expensive. Surgery commonly occurs when there is a blood clot which must be removed, skull fractures that need to be repaired or swelling which needs to be alleviated by opening a window in the skull to drain excess fluid.
Rehabilitation is often necessary following a traumatic brain injury, and sometimes requires a team of specialized medical professionals. Potential rehabilitation specialists may include:
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Speech and language pathologists
- Social workers
- Rehabilitation nurses
Between diagnostics, potential surgery and other expensive medical treatments and lengthy rehabilitation times, traumatic brain injuries can prove to be a massive financial burden for families struggling through these tragedies. The financial issues are compounded by the victim being unable to regain, maintain or in some cases even find new employment following their injury.
If you, your family or a friend in Maine is facing difficulties following a traumatic brain injury sustained in an accident, it’s likely in your best interest to seek the assistance of compassionate, skilled and reputable personal injury attorneys. Hardy Wolf & Downing want you to know that they are here for you and your family, and will go to extreme lengths to ensure every client receives the care, support and, ultimately the compensation they need to recover.