Articles Posted in Traumatic Brain Injury

Published on:

Blackwell Law Firm - TBI Cases
Many patients with a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) continue to suffer problems lasting years beyond their initial injury. Sometimes, the problems are permanent. TBI patients suffering long-term problems know their injuries are anything but mild. They are serious. The word “mild” is a clinical term and it is deceiving. The problems these injury victims suffer are both serious and life-altering. This is what the Brain Injury Association of America says about the term “mild” when applied to a TBI:

The term “mild brain injury” can be misleading. The term “mild” is used in reference to the severity of the initial physical trauma that caused the injury. It does not indicate the severity of the consequences of the injury.

A guide published by the State of Michigan to help TBI victims with their recoveries lists many of the long-term problems these patients suffer. They include:

Published on:

Photo by Dierk Schaefer
Are traumatic brain injuries (TBI) being diagnosed by emergency rooms? It’s a topic of concern in our personal injury practice. We frequently help families struggling because a loved one suffers a TBI from an accident. We regularly see these injuries in both car accidents and work-related job site accidents. Traumatic brain injuries can drastically change the lives of individuals as well as entire families.

Early documentation and diagnosis are frequent issues in our TBI cases. Why do many TBI victims lack early diagnosis or treatment? Initially, emergency rooms focus on immediate life-saving issues. A mild TBI may not be immediately life-threatening. Emergency rooms often neglect to document or diagnose broader cases of head trauma. This lack of documentation and care may continue beyond the initial ER visit. Later physicians are often inexperienced in mild traumatic brain injuries. These physicians may focus on the particular physical injury within their specialty while neglecting a TBI. Insurance companies also contribute to the problem with proper care. In workers’ compensation cases where the insurance company selects your doctors, insurers routinely ignore complaints. For insurance companies, it’s about saving money instead of providing care. These patients may never see a physician experienced or skilled with TBI issues.

The delayed diagnosis of TBI cases has two very bad effects. First, delays in diagnosis impact healing. Second, delays in diagnosis make it much more difficult to prove an accident caused your injury in court. Causation (did the accident cause your TBI) can become a huge issue in these cases.

Published on:

Photo by Mark Goebel
In June, I wrote a post discussing distracted driving by commercial truck drivers. You can read the post here: Distracted Driving And Commercial Trucks — A Deadly Combination. That post discusses a terrible distracted driving case where a truck driver crashed into a group of nursing students.

The crash killed five nursing students and severely injured others. Afterwards, the trucking company quietly settled claims from the families of the nursing students killed. However, one of the severely injured nursing students and her lawyer prepared for trial.

In January, a jury awarded $15 Million to this surviving nursing student. The student suffers from a traumatic brain injury caused by the crash. I have two instant takeaways from the jury verdict.

Published on:

Photo by KOMUnews

Emergency Rooms Fail To Diagnose Many Traumatic Brain Injuries

In past posts, I’ve discussed problems with emergency room protocols for accident victims who may be suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Emergency rooms often fail to diagnose significant cases of TBI as well as significant disc injuries in the spine. Our office regularly interviews victims of car accidents and work-related accidents with injuries left undiagnosed by emergency room personnel.

I get it. Emergency rooms are often crowded and chaotic. Emergency room professionals must worry about immediate life and death issues. Will the patient live? Is the patient at risk of paralysis? How do we stabilize the patient? These questions take priority. Yet, many significant TBI cases are left undiagnosed and untreated.

Published on:

Did you know pituitary gland damage is common in traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases? According to a recent article discussing pituitary gland damage in TBI cases:

Many studies have shown that a high percentage of patients who suffer mild, moderate, or severe TBIs may have some form of pituitary dysfunction in the first three months following the injury. While most of these patients’ symptoms go away over the following nine months or so, many still have pituitary hormone dysfunction by the end of a year.

Recent medical research shows a significant number of TBI patients actually continue to suffer chronic, or long-term, pituitary gland injury:

Published on:

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:

Published on:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can devastate entire families. These injuries often go undiagnosed and untreated. Some victims don’t even understand their problems. And, victims who do realize their problems, may still deny them to others.

Even when individuals suffering brain injuries seek medical help, they often face health care professionals who lack a proper understanding of these injuries. In our law practice, we have seen countless brain injury victims lost in a medical system that provides little or no help.

Today, I want to discuss three common brain injury myths. These common myths are:

Published on:

People suffering traumatic brain injury (TBI) can appear normal. TBI victims may look perfectly fine. That’s why this condition is often called the “invisible injury.” Because TBI victims can look fine on the outside, these injuries present many special challenges. Because TBI is an “invisible injury,” friends, family and even medical professionals often fail to understand the injury or support the victim. This leaves many TBI victims suffering largely in silence.

Brain injuries can cause many different cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems affecting relationships and work. In our law practice, we have seen many of these impacts on individuals, families and jobs. One ability sometimes impacted by brain injury is referred to as “Impartial third-party punishment (TPP).” TPP is the ability to judge the severity of conduct and assess reasonable punishment. People suffering this problem

are more prone to misjudge when faced with situations involving disputes or requiring discipline .  .  .

Published on:

According to data by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2.5 million people visit emergency rooms annually for a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Personally, I think the number of actual TBI cases in our emergency rooms is much higher than documented. Why do I think this? Some patients in the ER have multiple injuries from trauma. Take an injured victim of a car accident for example. When the car accident victim arrives at the emergency room, medical personnel check for life-threatening internal injuries, spinal injuries and other fractures. Unless the person has visible head trauma or obvious symptoms of head injury, that issue may be neglected. Many cases of mild head injury are ignored. Many TBI victims look normal.

In other cases, emergency rooms simply lack the detailed testing needed to detect cases of mild traumatic brain injury. In those situations, the X-ray or CT may appear normal even though the person suffers a significant TBI.

A recent Forbes article notes the lack of consistency by emergency rooms in diagnosing TBI. According to the article:

Published on:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often go undiagnosed and untreated. I regularly meet families with a loved one suffering significant changes in behavior, memory or cognitive function from a brain injury. Despite these life-altering injuries, the injured person’s medical records frequently omit any mention of problems. Why do many TBI cases go undiagnosed and untreated?

I believe factors within both the medical community and affected families lead to this problem. March is brain injury awareness month. More families should be aware of the need for TBI assessment and treatment following a head injury. Here are four reasons TBI cases are often undiagnosed.

EMERGENCY ROOMS IGNORE MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY SYMPTOMS