Songwriters and poets try to define the essence of being human by focusing on the heart and soul, but if you want to judge the essence of a person, you look to the brain. Simply put, you are what you think. That’s why traumatic brain injuries are so grievous. They can change the essence of who you are, reshaping your personality and crushing your ability to return to the life you had before the injury, and that’s if you survive.
The numbers are staggering. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) cause 3 in 10 accidental deaths in the United States. Every year, more than 2.5 million Americans become TBI statistics, with 2.2 million getting care in emergency rooms and 280,000 being hospitalized.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
TBIs result from external physical force on the head or brain. Common causes include falls, car crashes, being struck by an object, and assaults. In the United States, a traumatic brain injury occurs every 13 seconds. And every day, 137 people die from TBI-related injuries.
TBIs run the gamut from mild concussions to injuries that yield a vegetative state or death. Treatment plans are tailored to the injury and individual. Beyond medical specialists who heal the wounds, there could be a need for complex rehabilitation.
A small army of specialists – physiatrists, psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and occupational, vocational, physical, speech, and cognitive therapists – may need to be marshalled for care, and it can be an extremely costly process lasting months, years, or a lifetime.
Children and Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBI is the No. 1 cause of disabilities and death among children and adolescents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The treatment of and prognoses for children present hurdles unique to their ages because:
- Symptoms are similar, but the effects on function can vary greatly, depending on the stage of physical and psychological development. Effects can be far more severe with children.
- Effects on cognitive ability might not be obvious immediately, with challenges mounting as expectations increase with age.
- The injury can create hurdles that must be overcome to develop socially appropriate behaviors and advance academically.
Hope for Brain Injury Victims
For many victims of serious brain injuries, an accurate prediction of outcome is difficult because:
- Treatments and research are in early stages, with limited understanding of long-term effects.
- Tests don’t always show the scope of an injury.
- There is a lot of variation in types of injuries and secondary problems such as brain swelling.
- A person’s age and abilities at the time of the injury affect the recovery.
Although the complexity of the brain makes treating TBIs an incredible challenge, researchers are always looking for new treatment options. Some fairly cutting-edge efforts include:
Old drug, new use: In tests on lab rats, methylene blue positively affected the size of lesions on the brain and reduced the length of cognitive deficits.
Progesterone and TBI: Progesterone can protect damaged cells in the nervous system after a TBI by reducing swelling and restriction of blood flow. It also keeps neurons from dying.
A new tool: Susceptibility-weighted imaging has been found to be the best MRI technique for identifying micro-hemorrhages, which are a common result of TBIs.
A molecular fix: A molecule (PIF, or pre-implantation factor) discovered by a researcher at Yale University might play a role in human tissue repair, including in incidents of TBI.
Stem-cell research: Severe head and neck injuries can result in partial or full paralysis, and that has helped spur a push for ways to regenerate nerves and tissue to restore mobility, including work in stem-cell research.
New assistive devices: Sophisticated wheelchairs are being designed that can climb stairs, and mechanical exoskeletons are being used to teach TBI victims how to walk again. The latter is called “robotic gait training.” There also are EADLs, or “electronic aids to daily living.” These are everyday electronic tools that can be run with switch- or voice-activated remote controls to do basic things such as turn on lights.
Cutting-edge technology: Doctors are also exploring the use of electrical stimulators to control muscles and allow people to stand, walk, reach and grip.
All of these things are milestones in the road to healing and helping people adapt to the effects of severe head injuries. Recovery, the degree and the time it takes, is unique to each person. One thing that applies in almost every case is the crushing cost of extensive and lengthy medical care. That is why it is so important that people fighting for financial compensation work with an experienced brain injury attorney.
Brain Injury Recovery Statistics
Based on results with victims who got acute medical care and inpatient rehabilitation services, the CDC notes that after two years:
- Most people continue to show some degree of improvement.
- Thirty-four percent require some level of supervision.
- Ninety-three percent live in a private residence.
- Thirty-four percent live with a spouse or other companion; 29 percent live with their parents.
- Also, 33 percent are employed, 29 percent are unemployed, 26 percent are retired, and 3 percent are students.
The National Institutes of Health says that four years after being injured, TBI victims have a higher rate of unemployment or are less productive at work: 17.3 percent quit their jobs or cut their hours, and 15.5 percent report a reduced ability to work.
Chiumento Selis Dwyer Can Help with Your Brain Injury Case
In the Florida communities of Flagler and Volusia counties and beyond, the legal team at Chiumento Selis Dwyer has a reputation for compassionate service and aggressive litigation. If you or someone you love is the victim of a brain injury and legal action is warranted, you need our top-notch attorneys on your side to build a strong claim for compensation.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can begin evaluating your case and calculating the financial compensation you will need to treat this complicated injury.