The Problem of Detecting Brain/Head Injuries After an Accident
Brain and head injuries are very common in all types of accident cases such as falls from heights, car/truck accidents, and other fall down accidents like slip, trip and fall accidents. In catastrophic cases, brain and head injuries often go undetected for several weeks, if not months. That is because in the aftermath of a major accident, major surgical procedures and rehabilitation often take center stage. Brain and head injuries, which often do not show up on a CT scan, can therefore go undetected.
For example, a worker falls from a roof and suffers fractures throughout his body in addition to severe internal injuries. He hit his head, as evidenced by bleeding from the back of the head; however, his brain CT scan was normal. He requires multiple, major surgeries to repair the internal damage and fractures. In the following weeks and months, the focus is on rehabilitation, eating, walking, etc. All the while, he suffers from the classic symptoms of a head injury:
- sensitivity to light,
- personality changes,
- difficulty concentrating,
- difficulty with short term and long term memory, and
- difficulty with speaking and word retrieval.
However, many of these symptoms overlap normal symptoms of recovering from such traumatic injuries. Finally, after he is discharged and begins resuming his normal routine, it becomes clear he suffered a major head injury. At this point, it has been two months since the accident, and his doctors finally begin treating the head injury.
How Brain/Head Injuries are Diagnosed
After an accident occurs, if a head injury is suspected, emergency responders and/or hospital personnel will perform the Glascow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is meant to identify the severity of a brain/head injury and measures an individual’s response to eye stimuli, verbal cues and motor skill commands. The major drawback of the GCS is that while it tends to be accurate at identifying major head trauma, it is inaccurate at identifying less serious head trauma.
At the hospital, if a brain injury is suspected, the individual will probably receive a CT scan. However, brain and head injuries are not always visible on diagnostic tests. As shown in the example above, brain and head injuries are not always visible on a CT scan. In fact, many individuals who suffer a head injury do not show any immediate, objective signs.
Ultimately, the key to identifying a head injury is persistence of symptoms over a period of time, as assessed by a medical professional.
How Brain/Head Injuries are Treated
Initially, brain and head injuries are treated with rest and observation. Headaches and migraines may be treated with prescription medication. However, if symptoms do not subside, a medical doctor may order a psycho-neurological evaluation with treatment.
Legal Help for Brain/Head Injuries in Pennsylvania
Laffey, Bucci & Kent is a Philadelphia based law firm with offices throughout the Northeast area. Our lawyers handle accident and injury cases involving brain and head injuries. Please call our firm for a free consultation. 800.220.7600
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