Your daughter was just hit in the head with a baseball, and the emergency medical technician suspects a traumatic brain injury. What medical professionals do in the next few hours is crucial to saving your daughter’s life; what they do in the upcoming months may mean the difference between her living a normal life and being disabled.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
The Mayfield Clinic defines traumatic brain injury, or TBI, as “an injury to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head from blunt or penetrating trauma.” During such an injury, the brain bumps back and forth inside skull, resulting in bleeding, bruising, and damage to nerve fibers. TBI may be the result of a car accident, a gunshot, a fall, or a sports injury.
Right after the primary injury occurs, the person may have blurred vision; be dizzy or confused; not remember what happened; or lose consciousness. Although the victim may not seem too badly injured at first, his or her condition may rapidly worsen. The trauma of the head injury causes the brain to swell, leading to secondary injury, which is often more serious than the primary injury.
How Is TBI Treated?
People with mild cases of TBI are advised to rest and take over-the-counter pain medication as needed. These patients should be watched carefully for new or worsening conditions and will likely be scheduled for a follow-up doctor’s appointment.
More severe cases of TBI require emergency care that involves providing the victim with necessary oxygen and blood, stabilizing blood pressure, and preventing further, secondary injury. To minimize secondary injury, the following medications may be administered:
- Diuretics given intravenously can reduce fluid in the tissues, increase urination, and reduce pressure within the brain.
- Anti-seizure medication may be given during the first week after injury but only if seizures have occurred.
- Coma-inducing medication may be given to put the individual into a temporary coma if pressure in the brain is preventing the blood vessels from providing sufficient oxygen and nutrients to brain tissue; the brain needs less oxygen in a coma.
Rehabilitation Is Critical for Recovery
Once a patient’s condition has stabilized enough for them to leave the intensive care unit, they may be admitted to a long-term-care or rehabilitation center. At an acute inpatient rehabilitation center, the individual will take part in three or more hours of therapy to help relearn or compensate for lost abilities. Depending on the individual’s needs, the following specialists may be required:
- Physical therapist—to help recover strength, balance, and coordination.
- Speech therapist—to help with communication and to ensure that the patient can swallow safely.
- Occupational therapist—to help the patient with the activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, etc.) and to provide adaptive equipment if necessary.
- Neuropsychologist—to help the patient relearn cognitive tasks and learn new skills to compensate for memory, thinking, and emotional needs.
If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury and dealt with further injury because of inadequate rehabilitation, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a Louisville brain injury lawyer at Gray and White Law. Phone us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.