Berkeley Brain Injury Lawyer
Over the past few decades, the treatment of traumatic brain injuries has come a long way. Numerous imaging modalities, surgical procedures, and novel medications have been developed to improve the prognosis and recovery of patients everywhere. On the other hand, serious head and brain injuries are still significant medical problems that have the potential to adversely impact the lives of not only the patient but also their families. It is possible for a brain injury to have chronic complications and comorbidities that could last the remainder of the patient’s life. With this in mind, anyone dealing with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) should take note of some important information detailed below.Brain Injuries can go Unnoticed
Some brain injuries might go unnoticed. For example, the NFL has been in the media spotlight regarding concussions. Unfortunately, many of the professional athletes highlighted in the news did not even know that they had suffered a concussion. If the brain injury is not diagnosed, it is impossible to receive treatment. Returning to the field of play with an active head injury will only make the problem worse. Furthermore, this problem permeates down to the childhood level of sports as well. Therefore, anyone who has had any traumatic contact with the head should seek medical attention to ensure that they do not have a brain injury.What Causes a Brain Injury to Develop?
Many people could be wondering how they might suffer a traumatic brain injury. There are many different ways this can occur, including:Workplace Accidents
While many people develop brain injuries while operating power tools, even someone who works in an office building can suffer a brain injury. For example, someone could fall and hit their head on their desk. Some individuals could tumble down the stairs. While these might not be classic causes of brain injuries, they are brain injuries nonetheless.Slip and Fall Injuries
A slip and fall accident has the potential to do serious harm. When someone slips and loses their footing, they often fall backward. This could lead to the back of their skull impacting the floor. This rattles the brain in its case and could cause the brain tissue to impact the back of the skull, leaving a significant bruise on the brain tissue.Motor Vehicle Collisions
Someone operating a car, motorcycle, truck, or any other vehicle has the potential to suffer a severe head injury in an accident. An auto accident can lead to someone’s head striking the door, steering wheel, or dashboard. A truck accident can lead to a multi-car pileup where someone is ejected from the vehicle. Even the rider of a motorcycle who is wearing a helmet can suffer a serious head injury if their head impacts the pavement.Management of Pressures in a Severe Head Injury
When someone arrives at the hospital with concern for a head injury, the first priority is to stop any bleeding that has occurred. Blood loss can be estimated rapidly by using the heart rate and blood pressure. Someone with a high heart rate and low blood pressure could have suffered a significant loss of blood. This means that not enough red blood cells are available to transport oxygen to the body’s vital tissues, such as the brain. Measurement of blood pressures in the brain is central to the management of a traumatic brain injury.Cerebral Perfusion Pressure
The cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) is an important measurement of the blood flow in the brain. This is defined as the difference between the mean arterial pressure (average pressure in the patient’s arteries, MAP) and the intracranial pressure (the pressure in the brain, ICP). The formula is:CPP = MAP – ICP
The difference between the MAP and ICP is what drives blood flow to the brain. Blood moves from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. A small difference means that blood will not flow quickly between the two points, limiting the brain’s oxygen. As a patient loses blood, their MAP will drop. This could slow the flow of blood to the brain, worsening the injury. IV fluids and a blood transfusion could be given to raise the MAP and improve blood circulation to the brain.Intracranial Pressure
Intracranial hypertension (elevated blood pressure) can develop following an acute brain injury as the body rushes cells to the injury to start the healing process. If ICP goes up, the flow of blood to the brain could slow. Furthermore, an increase in ICP could cause the brain to swell. This increases the risk of a patient’s brain herniating, causing severe (or even life-threatening) brain damage. A patient showing severe symptoms of a traumatic brain injury could be given mannitol. This medication is used to rapidly lower a patient’s ICP. A patient could also be asked to hyperventilate. This will lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the patient’s bloodstream, helping to reduce the patient’s ICP.Complications of a Brain Injury
Failure to adequately control the pressures in a patient suffering a brain injury can lead to a host of complications; however, some comorbidities may develop regardless. Some of the complications include:Infection
Any open head injury that breaks the surface of the skin creates a portal to infection. The skin is the body’s first line of defense against an infection. When this barrier is broken, bacteria and viruses can enter. An infection in the brain could lead to a brain abscess, meningitis, or encephalitis. All of these are serious infections that could require IV antibiotics or even brain surgery. Physicians may treat with prophylactic antibacterial agents to prevent an infection from setting in.Vision Changes
Without adequate blood flow to the brain, patients may start to complain of intermittent vision changes. Examples include blindness in one eye (or a portion of one eye), a feeling of “bulging eyes,” complaints of “floaters,” or even passing out. These result from changes in intracranial pressure that could lead to intracranial hypertension. It could also result from a lack of flow to the eyes themselves or the occipital lobe. With rapid treatment, the vision symptoms could subside.Personality Changes
Damage to certain lobes of the brain, such as the frontal lobe, could alter a patient’s personality. They could forget who they are. They could lose control over their judgment and inhibitions. They may also struggle to perform executive functions, such as doing laundry, paying bills, cooking, and cleaning. Depending on the severity of the injury, these changes could be permanent. These are only a few of the many complications that could develop following a traumatic brain injury.The Cost of a Brain Injury Can be High
Someone who has suffered a brain injury is likely focusing on their medical recovery and not thinking about insurance claims. On the other hand, the financial results of a brain injury can devastate a family. Not only is the initial cost high but the cost of chronic treatments and rehab appointments can drag on for life. When this is combined with the potential to end someone’s career, it can devastate a family’s assets.
In this scenario, it is vital to contact an experienced Berkeley brain injury lawyer who understands how to negotiate with insurance companies, discuss disability claims with an employer, and hold anyone responsible for such an injury accountable.
Watch the video below for more on how traumatic brain injuries are treated.Experienced Brain Injury Lawyer in Berkeley
I’m Ed Smith, a Berkeley Brain Injury Lawyer. If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, please reach out to me at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 10.7.19]