Category Archives: Brain Injuries

What Is Second Impact Syndrome?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Concussions are common injuries from vehicle accidents, violence, and sports accidents. These injuries can range in severity and cause a host of unpredictable symptoms, some of which may impact the victim’s quality of life for months or even years.

A concussion occurs when an external force causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull. This may cause swelling or even bleeding, and the victim may experience unpleasant symptoms for several days, but most concussion victims make full recoveries within a few weeks.

Symptoms of a concussion can include short-term and long-term headaches, personality changes, symptoms of depression, and more symptoms that vary from person to person. One of the most dangerous symptoms is increased susceptibility to future concussions. A person who suffers a concussion can usually receive medical care to make a full recovery. However, Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), is a possibility after any concussion and this condition is almost always fatal.

What Is SIS?

SIS occurs when the brain swells from a concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion subside. For example, an athlete suffers a concussion during practice and receives doctor’s orders to avoid training for several weeks. A few days after his initial symptoms subside, he has a minor car accident that causes a second concussion. If the swelling and other symptoms of the first concussion had not yet subsided, he could experience SIS and die within minutes.

Anyone who suffers any kind of head injury faces a risk of concussion. If you find yourself in this situation and experience any symptoms of a concussion such as confusion, dizziness, nausea, or fall unconscious for any period, seek medical treatment immediately.

Concussion Treatment

The best treatment for a concussion is rest, though a doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to ease other symptoms. Rest serves two main functions: to allow the brain to physically heal from the concussion, and to keep the patient away from potentially dangerous situations that could lead to SIS.

A physician will usually recommend avoiding sports and strenuous activity for an extended time, and he or she may also recommend avoiding driving if possible. Patients should follow these instructions very carefully and use extreme caution during any activity that could lead to a head injury or they risk developing potentially fatal SIS.

Patients who fully recover from their concussions will still have an increased susceptibility to future concussions, so they must use care when deciding which activities to perform following concussion treatment. A second impact may show no visible signs at first and the victim may feel well enough to continue whatever he or she was doing only for symptoms to rapidly worsen within minutes, leading to the victim’s collapse and loss of consciousness.

Concussion and SIS Prevention

While a concussion may be treatable with swift medical attention, SIS can prove fatal within minutes of a secondary impact. Those who are lucky enough to survive SIS usually develop permanently disabling brain disorders. The best method to prevent this is to prevent a primary concussion whenever and however possible.

When playing sports, wear necessary protective headgear and only play in stride with your skill level. When driving, wear a seatbelt and follow the traffic laws to limit both the risk of an accident and your potential injuries in an unavoidable accident. After suffering a concussion, pay very close attention to your doctor’s orders and treatment advice.

Even after making a full recovery, use extra caution for several weeks to several months following the disappearance of your concussion symptoms. It is always best to limit your risk of a concussion at all times and use extreme caution during any activity that could potentially result in a head injury. For additional information regarding securing compensation to help with medical bills, pain and suffering, and the like, speak with a skilled brain injury lawyer in Bakersfield.

Posted by highrank at 6:09 pm

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most severe injuries a human being can sustain, and these injuries can have unpredictable long-term and permanent effects. Anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury should pay very close attention to his or her doctor’s instructions and treatment plan and report any new symptoms or changes in symptoms immediately.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Concussions are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries seen in the U.S., commonly resulting from car accidents, sports injuries, and interpersonal violence. A concussion occurs when an external force causes the brain to strike the inside surface of the skull. The human brain sits in the cranial cavity with a cushion of fluid surrounding it to protect it from the jagged surface of the inside of the skull. When a strong blow causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull, the damage may be minor or cause life-altering problems for the victim.

Most people who suffer mild concussions recover within a week or two with lots of rest and avoiding strenuous activities. However, some people may experience persistent uncomfortable or painful symptoms for months or even years following concussions. Additionally, suffering a concussion increases the victim’s vulnerability to future concussions. The symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome or persistent concussion symptoms include nausea, confusion, severe headaches, personality changes, and more.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

The brain is incredibly complex and powerful, but it is still vulnerable to injury. A penetrating head wound like a gunshot, knife wound, or impact wound from debris could cause fatal damage to the human brain. However, a victim who survives such an injury may experience a wide range of possible symptoms of various levels of severity.

Some people who experience severe traumatic brain injuries may develop personality changes, suffer cognitive difficulties, or experience memory loss or trouble making new memories. Others may only experience slight discomfort such as recurring mild headaches or changes in sensory perception. For others, the changes can be more dramatic. They may suffer amnesia, experience complete personality shifts, or develop secondary medical conditions related to their head injuries that severely diminish quality of life.

Permanent Disabilities

Many traumatic brain injuries cause long-term or permanent damage. A victim who enters a comatose or vegetative state following a traumatic brain injury may sustain further brain damage, potentially resulting in permanent neurological, behavioral, or cognitive impairment. These individuals may then require constant supervision and 24-hour daily care at home or an assisted living facility or hospital.

The effects of a traumatic brain injury are unpredictable. The type, size, and severity of the injury are only a few factors that determine the long-term effects. The victim’s overall medical status, age, preexisting medical conditions, and environmental factors may all influence his or her future prognosis. However, many severe brain injuries often result in life-changing disabilities, permanent mental deficiencies, and require long-term or permanent medical care and supervision.

Worsening Symptoms Over Time

Unfortunately, many of the long-term negative symptoms resulting from a traumatic brain injury will worsen over time. Some victims may experience progressively worsening headaches while others develop more extensive memory or sensory difficulties after their injuries. Others may develop disabilities that lead to depression, anxiety, anger, and secondary medical complications.

A brain injury victim should follow all physician instructions carefully and make all necessary medical appointments. If he or she requires ongoing care following a traumatic brain injury, his or her primary caregiver must stay alert for any sudden changes in the patient’s behavior or symptoms. Some traumatic brain injuries can damage the structure of the brain and cause it to deteriorate over time, and vigilance can help prevent potentially fatal complications from these issues. For more information on how to recover compensation for a TBI, speak with a brain injury attorney in Bakersfield.

Posted by highrank at 9:33 pm

How Long Does Post Concussion Syndrome Last?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Concussions are some of the most common traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Although treatable and relatively mild compared to more severe brain injuries, concussions can still cause severe medical complications and leave victims more susceptible to concussions in the future. One of the most problematic possible effects of a concussion is the manifestation of Post-Concussion Syndrome, a medical condition that can entail a host of adverse symptoms.

What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Post-Concussion Syndrome is a very complex medical condition that entails different symptoms for everyone who experiences the condition. It is important to note that Post-Concussion Syndrome applies to the symptoms a person experiences following a concussion and the term does not necessarily describe an exact set of symptoms.

Symptoms following a concussion typically subside within a week to ten days, but they can persist for months or even more than a year. Some reported symptoms are common following concussions.

  • Headaches, specifically tension headaches. It is also possible for a concussion victim to have tension headaches because of a neck injury that occurred at the same time as the concussion.
  • Rest is one of the most important treatments following a concussion. It is possible for a concussion victim to experience dizzy spells from standing up too fast or from remaining standing for too long.
  • A concussion can make a victim feel sapped of his or her energy, and these feelings can persist for some time. Again, rest is a very effective treatment.
  • Irritability and mood swings. A concussion can cause unpredictable changes in a person’s personality, and Post-Concussion Syndrome has a tendency to cause mood swings and episodes of intense agitation.
  • Insomnia and sleep difficulties. A person struggling with Post-Concussion Syndrome may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and lack of sleep can potentially exacerbate other symptoms.
  • Memory problems. Post-Concussion Syndrome can interfere with memories and cause short-term memory difficulties following the injury.
  • Sensitivity to sound and light. One of the most common symptoms of a concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome is increased sensitivity to light and sound.

Understanding the Effects of a Concussion

Medical research still has not pinpointed the exact reason why some concussion victims develop permanent symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome while others appear to make full recoveries in a matter of days to weeks. Some believe that a concussion causes structural damage to the brain itself which can, in turn, alter several brain functions. The brain may adapt to these changes and alter patterns of cognition and behavior rather than returning to normal after healing, so it is possible for a person to display significant personality changes after a concussion.

It is impossible to accurately predict how long Post-Concussion Syndrome will last for a particular patient. However, research has indicated that people who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and anxiety are statistically more likely to suffer from long-term Post-Concussion Syndrome symptoms. Social environment, family support, and coping skills also seem to play a role in this.

Managing Post-Concussion Syndrome

Since you cannot predict how long Post-Concussion Syndrome will last for an individual, the best thing to do is to follow the attending physician’s instructions, get lots of rest, and take medications to manage unpleasant symptoms. It is important to track any changes in your condition after a concussion, for better or worse. If you notice some symptoms starting to increase in severity, notify your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of severe brain damage or another medical condition.

It is also crucial for anyone who has had a concussion to do everything possible to limit the chance of additional concussions in the future. For example, if you sustained a severe concussion while playing a team sport and experienced Post-Concussion Syndrome symptoms for several months, this should be a sign that it would be best to avoid returning to that sport in the future. In the event somebody else’s negligence caused your brain injury, speak with a knowledgeable Bakersfield brain injury lawyer to learn about your options for financial recovery.

Posted by highrank at 7:16 pm

What Is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most severe injuries a person can suffer and some traumatic brain injuries result in periods of unconsciousness. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a tool used by physicians to determine the severity of unconscious periods. Long periods of unconsciousness can have a dramatic effect on the health of the brain and it is vital for attending physicians to understand their patients’ situations and the risk of long-term brain damage.

The Glasgow Coma Scale helps physicians understand the severity of a brain injury and the scale uses several metrics to help determine this. In reality, anyone can refer to the Glasgow Coma Scale after another person suffers a brain injury to determine the severity of the victim’s condition. If your brain injury was caused by the negligence of another party, be sure to speak with a skilled Bakersfield brain injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

How Does the Scale Work?

The Glasgow Coma Scale measures three aspects of a brain injury: eye opening, verbal response, and motor response. A brain injury can interfere with all of these factors, and the Glasgow Coma Scale helps first responders ascertain the immediate damage following a brain injury.

The person administering a Glasgow Coma Scale test will first judge the victim’s eye opening. If the victim cannot open his or her eyes it qualifies as “not testable” or “none.” If the victim opens his or her eyes in response to pressure, this qualifies as a score of “2,” and eye opening in response to sound is a score of “3.” If the victim’s eyes spontaneously open, this receives a score of “4.”

The next step of the test is measuring verbal response ability. This scale includes:

  • 5: the victim appears oriented in his or her verbal responses.
  • 4: the victim appears confused based on verbal responses.
  • 3: the victim may speak incoherently.
  • 2: the victim makes sounds, but no intelligible words.
  • 1: the victim cannot make any sounds or words.
  • NT: “not testable,” which only applies to individuals who cannot speak regularly, such as infants.

A similar scale exists for motor response, but it extends to an additional level. This scale includes:

  • 6: the victim can obey simple commands such as touching fingertips together or pointing at objects in the distance.
  • 5: the victim displays localizing motor responses.
  • 4: the victim shows normal flexion in motor responses.
  • 3: the victim shows limited flexion in motor responses.
  • 2: the victim displays extension in motor responses.
  • 1: no motor response.
  • NT: “not testable,” which only applies to victims who cannot offer motor responses even in normal circumstances.

Once the person administering the Glasgow Coma Scale test determines scores for all three verticals for a victim, he or she adds the scores together to determine the severity of the victim’s condition. A mild brain injury typically falls in the range of GCS 13 to 15. A moderate brain injury will have a GCS score of 9 to 12, and a severe brain injury will measure 8 or less on the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Treating Brain Injuries

The Glasgow Coma Scale helps first responders determine a patient’s condition so he or she receives appropriate treatment. Severe and moderate brain injuries are the most likely to cause long-term damage, but the reality is that any type of brain injury has the potential to cause lasting damage. Any brain injury can result in cognitive impairment, memory problems, and permanent neurological damage.

Proper use of the Glasgow Coma Scale can help to ensure that a patient receives appropriate treatment for a brain injury in a timely manner. It is also important for anyone who administers a Glasgow Coma Scale test to remember that other factors like pre-existing medical conditions, shock, and drug and/or alcohol use can influence test results. Medical professionals can administer a separate Glasgow Coma Scale test to children who do not have the same motor and verbal capabilities as adults.

Posted by highrank at 6:55 pm

What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when a force causes the brain to move inside the skull cavity, striking the insides of the skull. The brain essentially floats within the skull, and any traumatic impact or blow to the head can cause the brain to shift violently within this fluid. After the brain strikes the inside of the skull, the victim experiences a concussion, and the symptoms vary greatly from person to person.

A concussion may result in a brief period of unconsciousness, disorientation, and confusion. Other symptoms can include sensitivity to noise and light, headache, nausea, sensory confusion, and a host of other symptoms. The immediate effects of a concussion may only appear to last a few hours to a few days, but one of the most troubling aspects of concussions is their tendency to cause long-term problems, including post-concussion syndrome. In the event you or somebody you love sustained head injuries caused by the negligence of another party, speak with a Bakersfield brain injury attorney as soon as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome?

An individual who experiences a concussion will be more susceptible to concussions in the future, and he or she may also develop post-concussion syndrome. The symptoms of this condition differ for every individual, so a physician may diagnose a patient as having post-concussion syndrome in one of many ways. Some of the most common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Lapses in memory and/or diminished short-term memory
  • Fatigue, apathy, and symptoms of depression
  • Noticeable personality changes

A physician may look for three or more of these symptoms to diagnose a patient with post-concussion syndrome, and additional screenings such as CT scans and MRIs may help accurately diagnose a patient.

Prognosis for Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome has physical and psychological effects, making it difficult to treat in some patients. Rest is generally the most recommended treatment for a concussion, but this may exacerbate the psychological symptoms of post-concussion syndrome like depression, anxiety, and restlessness. Most patients who experience post-concussion syndrome make full recoveries within three months, but some cases can last a year or longer.

No one-size-fits-all approach to treating post-concussion syndrome is available, as the symptoms differ for every person who experiences it. Physicians must develop individualized treatment plans to address the physical and psychological symptoms of post-concussion syndrome for the best recovery experience.

Individuals who experience concussions and the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome should take care to prevent subsequent concussions in the future. Individuals who experience a second or third concussion generally report more severe symptoms, and repeat concussions are more likely to cause long-term damage.

Risk Factors for Concussions

Two of the most common causes of concussions in the United States are motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Motor vehicle accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental injury and death in the U.S., and many people who survive serious car accidents sustain concussions. Many contact sports are prevalent in American life as well.

Football, hockey, basketball, soccer, and many other sports carry risks of causing concussions from collisions with other players, falls to the ground, blows to the head from equipment, and many other potential hazards. Athletes, especially younger athletes still in school, should take care to follow their sports’ safety regulations and wear appropriate equipment to prevent concussions.

While you can never predict the actions of other drivers on the road, you can use good judgment to do your part to prevent motor vehicle accidents and limit your risk of injury if an accident happens. Always wear a seatbelt while driving or riding as a passenger and drive defensively. Refrain from speeding and aggressive driving and use extra caution in high-risk areas like construction zones, heavy merging areas, and busy city streets. It’s possible to sustain a concussion from even a mild fender-bender, so safe driving is a great way to prevent these injuries

Posted by highrank at 9:25 pm

What Is an Acquired Brain Injury?

Monday, August 21, 2017

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any damage or trauma the brain sustains after birth, for non-congenital reasons. ABIs include traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains sudden physical damage, as in a blow to the head or a puncture wound like a gunshot. A non-traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, can happen from infection, illness, brain tumors, or loss of oxygen or blood to the brain. ABIs are common in many accidents, including car accidents, slip and falls, and accidental drowning.

Causes and Effects of ABIs

Acquired brain injuries can occur as a result of catastrophic accidents or illnesses. Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and permanent disability in the U.S., accounting for about 30% of all injury deaths. People who survive traumatic ABIs often live with the effects for days, weeks, or the rest of their lives. No two brain injuries are the same. Each victim will suffer different symptoms and short- or long-term effects. Effects may include:

  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Persistent headaches
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Physical disabilities
  • Trouble with speech
  • Sensory disorders
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Permanent disability
  • Coma and/or brain death

Falls were the leading cause of acquired brain injuries in 2013, the most recent year data available. Falls caused more than half (54%) of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths among children up to 14 years of age. The second-leading cause of ABIs was objects striking the head, followed by motor vehicle crashes. Data shows that risk of sustaining a TBI is highest in people 75 years and older.

Who Is Liable for an Acquired Brain Injury?

Sometimes, there is a party at fault for causing someone else’s acquired brain injury. Many types of personal injury claim have involved ABIs, including those relating to medical practice, premises liability, product liability, and negligence. Talk to a Bakersfield brain injury attorney to find out if you have grounds to file a lawsuit after sustaining an ABI at home, at work, or on the road. Potentially liable parties could include:

  • An individual. If a driver, an independently contracted doctor, a property owner, criminal, or a coworker caused your injury, you could bring a claim against him or her as an individual. Often, however, individuals may not have the means to pay an award. A lawyer will look for other parties, including insurance companies, who may also be liable.
  • A company. If an on-duty employee caused your injury, you could have a claim against his or her employer. You may also have a product liability claim against a manufacturing company if a defective product caused your ABI. All businesses have insurance that may step in to pay your award should you have a successful case.
  • The city. The Bakersfiled government could be liable for your ABI if you sustained the injury because of a government employee, while riding in a city-owned vehicle, or because of a defect on a city-owned property. It is possible to sue the government in California, but strict rules apply. Speak to an attorney for help.

Every ABI case is unique. There is often more than one defendant liable for causing someone’s acquired brain injury, traumatic or non-traumatic. While you may not be able to sue if a brain tumor or illness caused your injury, you may have a case if your injuries happened in a preventable accident. Speak to an accomplished Bakersfield personal injury lawyer to learn more about your particular claim.

Posted by highrank at 9:55 pm