In the article “Getting Back on the Bike: My Insurance-Driven Recovery,” a brain injury patient tells his recovery story. The patient, David, was riding his bicycle when a car struck him. In the years following his accident, David has healed from his physical injuries. Yet, he continues to suffer problems from his brain injury.
David’s story involves a life forever changed following a traumatic brain injury. It’s a story other head injury patients will understand.
Traumatic brain injuries affect many families. Many families have a loved one who suffers head injury problems from an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident or workplace accident. David’s story of healing reveals several common truths for brain injury patients. What are these common truths? They are:
- BRAIN INJURIES MAY NOT PRODUCE IMMEDIATE SYMPTOMS. As David describes, his “symptoms took some time to manifest.” Brain injury symptoms may develop over time following trauma. They may not be apparent immediately following the accident. In some cases, the severity of pain or loss of function from the physical injuries takes precedence over the subtle impacts of a brain injury. And, in other cases, medications may mask brain injury symptoms.
- BRAIN INJURIES MAY NOT BE TREATED QUICKLY. In his article, David notes “doctor ordered healthcare had to be passed by because of our insufficient insurance coverage.” High deductibles. Limited coverage. These are common insurance issues that prevent patients from obtaining treatment. Health insurance benefits may be very limited. And, many patients must use available coverage for treatment of their physical injuries. In workers’ compensation cases where medical treatment is provided by law, the insurance carriers often authorize doctors who will ignore symptoms in an effort to avoid costs.
- BRAIN INJURIES MAY NOT HEAL. Brain injury symptoms may last a lifetime. Many patients do not recover fully from a traumatic brain injury. Five years after his bicycle accident, David still reports ongoing symptoms. Because many people with brain injuries look or appear perfectly normal, family and friends may not understand the problems. Yet, effects can be long-lasting. Last month, I tried a case where my client still suffers chronic headaches and dizziness years after her accident. In prior posts, I’ve discussed other long-term problems. These can even include issues in judgment and decision-making. In our cases, we work hard to evaluate the lasting impacts of brain injury upon the client’s life, function and employability.
Brain injuries present many challenges. These injuries are often misunderstood – even by medical professionals. For patients and their families, the symptoms can last a lifetime.