Phoenix Attorneys Discuss Brain Injury Treatments
Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury, the road to recovery will not be a short one. In fact, it will be filled with many difficult days and nights over long weeks, months, and even years. For many people who suffer brain injuries, the healing process is never totally completed and the symptoms, pain, and suffering associated with the original injury will plague them throughout the rest of their lives. Brain injury treatments, while effective in many cases, often are required over a long period of time in order to make a positive difference, and not all treatments will work for every patient due to the complicated nature of brain injuries and recovery from these injuries.
What are Brain Injuries and How Do they Happen?
Brain injuries occur when the brain is hit, shaken, or thrashed around in any type of accident. Bruising, bleeding and other types of injuries happen to the brain, causing the victim to act differently, lose their abilities, and in extreme cases, become permanently disabled or even die. Some of the most common types of incidents that lead to brain injuries include slipping and falling, being involved in a car crash, being struck by or pushed against an object, and physical assault.
According to reports, falling accounts for more than 35 percent of head injuries. Car crashes account for more than 17 percent of brain injuries and around 16.5 percent of brain injuries are sustained after being struck, either by a vehicle, a flying object or another object. Physical assault represents only 10 percent of brain injuries.
What Are Symptoms and Diagnosis of Brain Injuries?
Because no two brain injuries are ever completely the same, it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose the problem, especially if a head injury is not indicated to the doctor during the examination. If you're experiencing symptoms of a head injury, it is crucial to tell the doctor that you may have hit your head. This can help your doctor to determine whether you need a CT scan, ultrasound, MRI, or other test to determine the extent and possibility of serious injuries and damage to your brain.
Some of the most common symptoms of brain injuries that are frequently overlooked by victims include:
- a change in behavior or sleep patterns,
- pulse or breathing rate that slows down dramatically even while blood pressure rises,
- feeling exhausted or fatigued and not being able to wake up very easily,
- nausea and vomiting,
- becoming momentarily paralyzed,
- changes in your vision including the dilation of your pupils,
- trouble swallowing and talking,
- inability to understand people who are talking to you,
- changes in your hearing accompanied by confusion or severe headaches, and
- coma in extreme cases,
Factors in Brain Injury Treatment
Brain injuries are common in the United States, making it crucial for victims to choose experienced doctors to help them make it through recovery faster. However, since brain injuries are never identical, treatment options must also be tailored to the victim who suffered the injuries. Treatment for a brain injury not only depends on the unique injury suffered by the victim but also on the type of brain injury and the severity of the injury that was sustained.
A mild concussion will receive different treatment than an intracranial hematoma, and treatments also differ for people in different age groups. However, for all people who have sustained a mild to serious brain injury or head injury, it is important to seek emergency medical care. The symptoms of a brain injury may take hours or even days to fully manifest so it is important to go to the emergency and have your oxygen and blood supply levels checked to ensure that your body is capable of handling recovery without ongoing supervision.
Use of Medications for Brain Injury Treatment
Medications are often used as a part of the recovery process after a brain injury. Some of the most common medications used for brain injury treatments include diuretics, anti-seizure medications, and coma-inducing drugs, while pain killers are used in very small numbers due to the risk of thinning the blood, clotting the blood, or causing other types of bleeding injuries. Medications assisting in recovery from a brain injury can become expensive, especially after being taken over a long period of time and because insurance companies will not always cover the costs associated with these medications.
Is Surgery a Viable Brain Injury Treatment Option?
For severe cases of brain injury, surgery may be required to remove blood clots, also called hematomas, repair skull fractures, or to relieve pressure on the brain by opening the skull and draining out the brain fluid or blood that has accumulated in the cranium. Surgery has its own risks, including death, permanent damage, paralysis, and other injuries. This option is increasingly expensive, depending on the type of surgery necessary for recovery and repair of the brain, and will require weeks, or even months of ongoing care for a complete recovery.
Rehabilitation for brain injury victims in a long, arduous, and often expensive method of treatment, but is necessary for a complete recovery. For brain injury victims with a severe brain injury, learning to walk or talk again, or even do basic tasks for daily living may become a part of the rehabilitation process. Some of the most common rehabilitation services used by brain injury victims include:
- Speech and language pathology to help a brain injury patient recover their ability to speak and communicate coherently.
- Physical therapies to help the patient regain the ability to walk, stand, balance, hold objects, and do other basic tasks and movements.
- Physiatrists help victims of brain injury by overseeing and coordinating their recovery process from start to finish.
- Occupational therapies to help victims learn how to perform basic everyday tasks once more, like brushing their hair, doing the dishes, or feeding the cat. This type of treatment also focuses on things like relearning basic math or how to drive.
- Psychology and psychiatry can help patients learn how to control and modify their behaviors so that they can cope with their injury and function appropriately in the real world.
- Recreational therapy to help the patient learn to enjoy leisure activities again by learning how to swing on a swing, swim, or even ride a bike.
- Vocational counseling is used for those patients who want to return to work and need assistance reentering the workforce. A vocational therapist will help the brain injury victim determine what types of jobs and opportunities are appropriate for them.
Rehabilitation nurses, traumatic brain injury nurse specialists, and social workers are all also critical members of the rehabilitation team for brain injury patients and their families. They help with finding additional services, learning to cope with the injury, and figuring out how to move on during and after recovery, which is not often easy for those who have suffered a brain injury.
Emergency Room for Brain Injury Treatment
For those brain injury victims who go to the emergency room after sustaining a head injury, the reaction and actions of the emergency care staff can be overwhelming and frightening. Head injury victims are often given priority in the emergency room because of the serious nature of the injury. CT scans, MRIs, and other types of x-rays are often done almost immediately for those who visit the emergency room.
Those individuals who are found to have any amount of brain damage, pressure, or bruising on the brain are immediately admitted into the hospital for further evaluation and ongoing treatment. However, those patients who are not admitted to the hospital are not necessarily released and sent home. In most cases, those with less severe cases of brain injury are provided with medications and then monitored for several hours in the emergency room before a decision is made as to whether they should be admitted to the hospital or released to return home.
Doctor's Role in Brain Injury Treatment
When you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your primary treating doctor will help make calls about bringing in specialists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, and other individuals who can help you make a complete recovery and move on with your life. You will likely have multiple doctors who make decisions about your care, treatment continuum, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.
Patient's Role in Brain Injury Treatment
As the patient, you also have a role to play in the treatment process for your brain injury. Brain injury patients should always tell the truth about pain, suffering, numbness, symptoms, and other experiences while in care for a brain injury. Telling the doctor you don't have a migraine when you do to avoid being poked and prodded can delay or even prevent your ultimate recovery.
Preventing Brain Injuries
Unfortunately, being careful when you are driving, playing sports, or just walking through the department store or outside cannot always prevent you from sustaining a brain injury, but taking the proper precautions can definitely help. A good attitude towards safety certainly can reduce your risk of sustaining injuries and being involved in accidents, but while you can control your own actions and reactions, you can't do the same for others. . In many majority of brain injury cases, the accidents that led to the brain injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another person.
Getting Help for Your Present and Future Brain Injury Treatments
The Phoenix personal injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. know that brain injury treatment and rehabilitation are not easy and can quickly create financial burdens for victims and their families. We work hard to help victims get the compensation they need for the right medical care and the right rehabilitation services to get through recovery more quickly, and to get back to living their lives. Call us today at (602) 267-1280 to discuss your claim and find out what we can do for you.
Attorneys Alexis and Mark Breyer have years of experience working on cases where brain injuries have resulted after an accident, helping victims to get a fair settlement from the negligent party that caused the crash. When you're in need of good advice after an accident and you're not sure what the next steps are for your recovery, contact the Husband and Wife Law Team. The most important thing you can do for your future in understand what your rights are and what you deserve for your pain and suffering.