Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most potentially debilitating types of injury a person can experience is a traumatic brain injury. Such injuries range in severity from mild to serious brain injuries, with associated symptoms lasting for days, weeks, months or even years. When such an injury is suspected, it is important to seek medical treatment for the injury as soon as possible.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
When someone receives a mild brain injury, he or she may have several symptoms. Headaches are very common, as are brief losses of consciousness, mood disturbances and difficulties with concentrating, thinking and remembering things. People who suffer a mild brain injury recover fully after a short period.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Severe traumatic brain injuries can cause victims to suffer permanent and devastating problems or even death. Prolonged losses of consciousness exceeding 30 minutes can be indicative of a traumatic brain injury. Additionally, people may experience difficulty with such things as speaking, thinking and self-care. They may have difficulty walking and may also be unable to remember important things. Traumatic brain injuries can also cause a permanent change in personality with problems including an inability to control the emotions.
Importance of Immediate Medical Care
Brain injuries can cause swelling or pressure on the brain due to fluid build up. These related problems can lead to further damage if they are not treated early. Doctors may need to perform surgery to release pressure caused by swelling to prevent more catastrophic brain damage from occurring.
Assessing Costs of Care
The treatment costs associated with severe brain injuries are much higher than those for other damage types, requiring periods of hospitalization, rehabilitation and ongoing personal care. In addition to the initial hospitalization and rehabilitation stays, up to 20 percent of people who have a severe brain injury will require rehospitalization one to three years after the original injury was received.
Rehospitalizations can be for non-elective reasons, such as the treatment of nervous system disorders, mental illness, infections, and seizures, or for what hospitals term as elective ones, such as surgeries needed on bones and joints or for reconstruction. When assessing the total potential costs of treatment and care, the high likelihood of returns to the hospital for associated problems should be taken into account.
Seeking legal help
Traumatic brain injuries can result from many things, including sports, accidents, and medical negligence. Medical professionals owe a reasonable duty of care in the treatment they provide to patients. When the duty of care is breached and results in a brain injury, the victim may be able to hold the physician, staff, and facility civilly liable by filing a medical malpractice civil lawsuit.
Even when a person believes his or her brain injury was caused by the malpractice of a medical professional or the negligence of others, that is not always the case. People may thus wish to meet with a medical malpractice attorney, as a lawyer can review the relevant medical documentation and analyze the facts to determine the strengths of the potential case.
An attorney can also help his or her clients by identifying all possible defendants and claims, drafting and filing civil complaints, deposing witnesses and obtaining expert medical opinions. Finally, attorneys can help clients get all of the necessary medical documentation needed for the case and can evaluate the potential treatment costs.
Brain Injury Association of America, “Rehospitalization rates: 20 percent for people with traumatic brain injuries,” 2014.
WebMD, “Traumatic brain injury – Topic Overview,” 2014.