Traumatic Brain Injury
INFORMATION AND WHAT TO DO
A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. Head injuries can be classified as closed or penetrating. In a closed head injury, the head sustains blunt force trauma by striking against an object (such as hitting a windshield in a car accident). It can also occur through injuries such as whiplash. In a penetrating head injury, an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain. Common causes of these types of head injuries include: car accidents, physical assault, falls, etc. Head injuries may cause loss of consciousness, serious bleeding, confusion, seizures, and/or clear drainage from the nose or ears. Some injuries may result in nonreversible or prolonged brain damage.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Concussions are brain injuries that may result in a bad headache or unconsciousness, and even nausea or vomiting. These occur when the head is struck by, or strikes another object during an accident. Examples of how one may develop such an injury include: when an accident like a fall causes the head to strike a nonmoving object, or a car accident causes a moving object to hit the head. Concussions most commonly occur in car accidents and sports activities.
Post Concussion Syndrome
Post Concussion Syndrome is when symptoms of a head injury last 6-12 months after an accident. Up to 60% of patients experience this after a concussion. Those affected may experience memory loss, headaches, and dizziness.
Contusion is a bruise to a specific area of the brain caused by an impact to the head; also called coup or contrecoup injuries. In coup injuries, the brain is injured directly under the area of impact, while in contrecoup injuries it is injured on the side opposite the impact.
A skull fracture is a medical emergency that must be treated promptly to prevent possible brain damage. These injuries can have no obvious signs of damage, but can include clear fluid draining from the ears and/or nose, bruising around the eyes and/or behind the ears, and swelling or depression on part of the head.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Diffuse axonal injury is a shearing and stretching of the nerve cells at the cellular level. It occurs when the brain quickly moves back and forth inside the skull, tearing and damaging the nerve axons. Axons connect one nerve cell to another through the brain, like telephone wires. Widespread axonal injury disrupts the brain’s normal transmission of information and can result in substantial changes in a person’s wakefulness.
Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage is bleeding into the space that surrounds the brain. This space is normally filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which acts as floating cushion to protect the brain. Traumatic SAH occurs when small arteries tear during the initial injury. The blood spreads over the surface of the brain causing widespread effects.
This type of hemorrhage includes bleeding inside of the skull that may accompany another head injury. Blood clots can form in a blood vessel between the skull and brain ruptures. Over time, pressure on the brain may increase, causing symptoms such as: increasing headache, unequally sized pupils, slurred speech, dizziness, vomiting, and fatigue. The three types of intracranial hemorrhages are Epidural, Subdural, and Intracerebral.
An Epidural hematoma is a collection of blood between the skull and the covereing of the brain called the dura.
A Subdural hematoma is a collection of blood between the dura and the brain itself.
An intracerebral hemorrhage occurs when the bleeding is deeper inside of the brain.
Hematoma is a blood clot that forms when a blood vessel ruptures. Blood that escapes the normal bloodstream starts to thicken and clot. Clotting is the body’s natural way to stop bleeding. A hematoma may be small or it may grow large and compress the brain. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the clot. A clot that forms between the skull and the dura lining of the brain is called an epidural hematoma. A clot that forms between the brain tissue and the dura is called a subdural hematoma. A clot that forms deep within the brain tissue itself is called an intracerebral hematoma. Over time the body reabsorbs the clot. Sometimes surgery is performed to remove large clots.
A coma is an extended period of unconsciousness in which a person cannot be awoken, and is usually caused by a severe head injury. Comas may occur naturally after an accident, or doctors may put a severely injured patient under a “medically-induced coma” to allow him or her to heal with minimal complications.
Malpractice and Brain Injuries
Over 1.4 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries each year, with more than 50,000 dying as a result. While injuries to the brain frequently occur due to freak accidents that cause a blow to the head, they can also be caused by malpractice of a medical professional.
Medical Malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to provide a patient with the standard level of care. Types of medical malpractice include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- surgical accident
- improper administration of anesthesia
- interrupting blood flow to the brain
- misdiagnosing, or failing to diagnose a condition
Head trauma, brain tumors, aneurysms, and other brain conditions can all lead to a severe brain injury, or even death if left untreated. They can have severe and far-reaching repercussions on many facets of a victims life. Some of the potential damages that can be caused by head injuries include:
- chronic pain
- seizure disorders
- speech impairment
- extensive medical bills
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Convulsions or seizures
- Vomiting or nausea
- Fluids coming out of the nose or eyes
- Inability to wake from sleep
- Dilation of pupils
How Long is Recovery?
Recovery from a traumatic brain injury may depend on the severity of the injury. Effects may be life-long and very severe, or may go away after a couple months.
How Traumatic Brain Injury Can Affect Your Life
A traumatic brain injury can completely and permanently change a person’s life, and even the lives of those around them. If a person has had a traumatic brain injury, they can have long/short term memory loss, headaches, difficulty thinking, and mood swings, and may even need assistance completing everyday tasks. With more than 150 years of combined experience, the personal injury lawyers at Murphy Law Firm have seen the devastating effects of traumatic brain injuries and debilitating long-term conditions. We provide skilled legal support that focuses on the personal needs of our clients to help them obtain the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Please do not hesitate to call Murphy Law Firm today to speak with our skilled personal injury attorneys for more information on how you can receive help.