A brain injury, also called “traumatic brain injury” or “TBI,” can be anything from a mild concussion to a severe head injury. TBI is usually caused by physical trauma to the brain due to car accidents, falls, gunshots, and any physical blow to the head or body that results in a jolt or sudden extreme movement that impacts the brain. This trauma can cause bleeding (hemorrhage), bruising (contusions), blood clots (hematomas), swelling, tearing and other damage of brain tissue.
Diagnosing a TBI can be complex and require extensive testing. Typically, TBI symptoms range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from hours to years and can even be permanent. Common symptoms include unclear thinking, difficulty with concentration, headaches, dizziness, problems with memory and learning new information, problems with speech, movement and vision, depression, nervousness, mood swings, insomnia and over sleeping, changes in personality, sexual dysfunction and others.
Often times, victims with mild to moderate TBI may not even realize that their symptoms are the result of a brain injury or not even realize they are experiencing symptoms of a brain injury. During a medical exam after sustaining head trauma, doctors will usually look for physical signs of a brain injury by checking reflexes, strength, balance, coordination, sensation, and speech and mental coherence. Doctors also use brain imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and SPECT and PET scans and may also refer the patient for neuropsychological testing.
Mild traumatic brain injuries usually will heal simply with rest and over-the-counter medications. On the other hand, treatment for moderate to severe TBI may include medications (for example, diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and help reduce pressure inside the brain and anti-seizure medications to avoid any additional brain damage that might be caused by a seizure since TBI patients are at risk of having seizures), surgery to remove blood clots, repair skull fractures, removing pieces of skull in the brain, and also to open a hole to relieve pressure inside the skull by draining accumulated cerebral spinal fluid or creating a window in the skull that provides more room for swollen tissues, and rehabilitation and therapy to relearn basic skills such as walking or talking.
Most TBIs have emotional and psychological components, since TBI patients must learn to cope and adjust to the physical limitations due to the injury. In addition, home health care is also frequently needed for assistance with simple daily living activities, such as bathing, clothing and cooking, and depending on the severity of the injury, the necessity for this case can be life lasting.
Many victims of a TBI are able to return to some level of work, enjoy activities, and have relationships and families. Having the right team of doctors, therapists and care givers can provide the medical care, support, training, and resources to help the injury victim move toward new goals.
If you, or someone you know has suffered a brain injury, call our office now at 305-536-3400, toll free at 1-800-270-1710, e-mail us, or complete a free case evaluation for a consultation directly with one of our attorneys.