Phases of TBI

Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Jul 22, 2013 in Personal Injury

The brain is an astounding part of our human anatomy and it has the capacity to overcome a great deal of trauma, but there are certain types of trauma that can permanently damage one of our most vital organs and unfortunately, the person who sustained the trauma may never be the same.

Brain injury in its severest form is known as TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury. Health care professionals use a point scale to determine the damage caused to the brain which corresponds to the amount of activity the individual does or does not have following the head trauma.

Physicians will then classify the individual into a category in order to help determine their prognosis for recovery. This point system is known as the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and each point allotted to the individual who experienced the trauma reflects a command they are or are not able to perform.

Below is the breakdown of the GCS and the corresponding commands:

Glasgow Coma Scale

Eye opening

Score

Verbal

Score

Motor

Score

None

1

None

1

None

1

To pain

2

Sounds

2

Extension

2

To command

3

Words

3

Flexion

3

Spontaneously

4

Disoriented

4

Withdraws from pain

4

   

Oriented

5

Localizes to pain

5

       

Follows commands

6

 

On the GCS, a score of eight or less indicates a severe brain injury, while moderate brain injury corresponds with a score between nine and 13. The mildest form of brain injury occurs with a score of 13 or higher, which equates to a concussion, in which case the patient will most likely not need any inpatient rehabilitation.

Recovery Process

Friends and family of the TBI victim will be on high alert for any changes in their recovery, but oftentimes the physician can only give a vague, “wait and see” prognosis. This answer can be extremely frustrating but the truth is that there are many factors that contribute to the speed of recovery and the amount of damage that has been done to the brain.

There is much that medical professionals do not know about the brain; it is a complex network of neural messages and functions and it is difficult to tell exactly which parts of the brain have sustained trauma until later in recovery.

Some of the factors that affect recovery time and general prognosis include:

  • Age of patient
  • Current findings of medical tests and examinations, brain scans, etc.
  • Depth and duration of coma
  • Presence of low blood oxygen following injury
  • Previous head trauma
  • Type and location of trauma

Physicians have a difficult time predicting the extent of brain injury and length of recovery time because there is not set standard of recovery time, and the near endless combinations of all the factors make it very difficult to pinpoint how an individual’s brain and body will react to the event.

It can be even more frustrating for the family and loved ones of the TBI victim if their injuries are a result of another person’s negligent behaviors. Attorney Robert E. Gordon is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Florida, and the legal team of Gordon & Partners understands how difficult it is to cope with TBI, whether you are the victim or the victim’s loved one.

Stages Of Recovery

The extent of the trauma determines the speed and efficacy of recovery. Depending on the bruising or swelling that has occurred in the neurons, the patient may be experienced temporary damage or permanent loss of use of particular portions of their brain.

People with brain damage can also make unexpected and quick recoveries that doctors are unable to predict. In some cases, different parts of the brain may adapt and take over for the damaged portion, or new connections may be formed between the healthy brain cells that override the dead ones.

The following stages of recovery are seen as corresponding to the various levels of trauma:

  • Coma: Unconscious state rendering the victim unresponsive and unable to communicate. The GCS score can improve during this time, signaling the patient’s emergence from the coma.
  • Minimally conscious state: A very limited amount of awareness and consciousness with inconsistent responses. Some may not recover from this state.
  • Post traumatic amnesia: Serious memory problems following the patient’s emergence from comatose state. The patient will be unable to remember things from day to day, and can become agitated as a result of their frustration.
  • Vegetative: Patient will experience typical sleep-wake cycles but are suspended between a comatose state and actual consciousness. The patient will be totally unaware while in a vegetative state, and if they remain vegetative for over 12 months will be considered permanently vegetative.

TBI is not only physically stressful but, on an emotional level, the victim and their family will have to struggle with an incredible amount of medical expenses, mental anguish and personal trauma. TBI phases of recovery can sometimes seem like limbo for the victims and their families, and if you or a loved one is experiencing TBI, seeking legal counsel with litigators who are competent and experienced in personal injury law can be your best recourse.

No victim of TBI should be made to suffer silently and bear the burden of mounting hospital bills and rehabilitative treatment if the injury was caused by another person’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness.

Palm Beach Brain injury attorneys

An individual can be a victim of personal injury at any time and in any place. If you have suffered physical or emotional harm because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be entitled to file a claim against the party at fault.

At our firm, we work on a contingency only basis, which means that we only charge you for our fees and services if we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. For those that are unsure if they have a case, we also offer a 100% FREE initial case review, which allows customers to submit the information about their case for a free assessment by our team of lawyers.

If we determine that you have grounds to file a claim, we will help you to decide your best course of action to take. With offices in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, our lawyers are licensed to practice law across the entire state and we serve clients in the following cities:

  • Delray
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  • …and most other surrounding cities in South Florida.

To find out more, please contact us on 1 (855) 722-2552 and a member from our intake staff will ask about some details of your incident, and then quickly connect you to one of our attorneys - it's that easy.

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