Brain Injury is an often misdiagnosed, misunderstood, neurological problem. Individuals who sustain brain injuries need timely access to trauma care, specialized rehabilitation, and expert diagnosis.
Brain Injuries are unpredictable in how they manifest themselves. No two brain injuries are the same. The effects of brain injury can vary from person to person. And the effects of each brain injury depend on where in the brain injury occurs.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is an injury to the brain caused by an external force after birth. Common causes of a traumatic brain injury include motor vehicle crashes or other events which can produce trauma in to the skull. It is not necessary to actually strike the head to cause brain injury. A rapid acceleration of deceleration of the head can cause injury to the brain by causing the brain to jar against the inside of the skull. These injuries can be just as devastating as a blow to the head.
Brain Injury is often not recognized by the person who is injured. Because a brain injury affects how a person perceives the world around them, they may not know what they have lost. Brain injury can also cause confusion and mood changes. Loved ones of injury victims can be instrumental in helping spot the signs of a possible brain injury.
Some common signs that a brain injury may have occurred are:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- A state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Memory or concentration problems
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in the extremities
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of bladder control or bowel control
- Persistent headache or headache that worsens
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
Signs of brain injury in children can be more difficult to determine but may include:
- Change in nursing or eating habits
- Persistent crying
- Unusual or easy irritability
- Change in ability to pay attention
- Inability to be consoled
- Change in sleep habits
- Sad or depressed mood
- Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
It is important to talk to a doctor or other medical provider immediately if you notice any of the above signs. Asked to be evaluated for a brain injury. If this injury was caused by someone else, it is important to talk to an attorney who understands the implications of a brain injury and who can help pursue getting justice for the damage caused by such a severe injury.
A case of mild traumatic brain injury is an occurrence of injury to the head resulting from blunt trauma or acceleration or deceleration forces with one or more of the following conditions attributable to the head injury during the surveillance period:
- Any period of observed or self-reported transient confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness
- Any period of observed or self-reported dysfunction of memory (amnesia) around the time of injury
- Observed signs of other neurological or neuropsychological dysfunction, such as:
- Seizures acutely following head injury
- Among infants and very young children: irritability, lethargy, or vomiting following head injury
- Any period of observed or self-reported loss of consciousness lasting 30 minutes or less
- Symptoms among older children and adults such as headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, or poor concentration, when identified soon after injury, can be used to support the diagnosis of mild TBI, but cannot be used to make the diagnosis in the absence of loss of consciousness or altered consciousness. Further research may provide additional guidance in this area
The definition focuses on the actual injury or symptoms, not the possible consequences. For many people, there are challenges in getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment, especially when there is no documented or observed loss of consciousness. There does not need to be a loss of consciousness for a brain injury to occur.
What happens in a mild brain injury?
The brain is soft and jello-like in consistency. It is composed of millions of fine nerve fibers, and “floats” in cerebral-spinal fluid within the hard, bony skull. When the head is struck suddenly, strikes a stationary object, or is shaken violently, the mechanical force of this motion is transmitted to the brain.
It is important to understand that a concussion is a physical injury to the brain that causes a disruption of normal functioning just like any other physical injury disrupts your normal functioning. For example, some ankle injuries (i.e., sprains and fractures) are more disruptive than others, just as some brain injuries are more disruptive than others. The better we understand any injury, the better our chances are for a speedier and healthier recovery.
It is important to remember that a concussion or other brain injury may not involve a loss of consciousness. There are many different ways a brain injury can present itself. If you or someone you love has experienced a brain injury it is important to have that injury diagnosed as soon as possible.
Brain Injuries can be diagnosed using several methods. These include CT Scans, MRI and Neuropsychological Testing. Because the brain is such a complex structure, a brain injury may not show up on even the most sensitive specialized diagnostic testing. There are also specialized MRI scans that cannot be performed at every hospital. Just because a CT Scan or an MRI does not show injury to the brain, does not mean a person has not suffered a brain injury. It just means that the things which a CT Scan or MRI looks for as clues did not appear.
If you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury and requires legal advice, call the Louisville Brain Injury Attorneys of Murphy & Associates PLC at 502-473-6464 today.