Coping with TBI

The National Institutes of Health has stated that a type of head injury, traumatic brain injury or TBI, contributes to almost a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Nationally, about 1.7 million people sustain a TBI every year.

Recognizing TBI

A TBI is the result of a sudden blow or piercing injury to the skull. The severity of a TBI can vary from mild to severe. A mild TBI can bring on symptoms like headache, dizziness, clumsiness, sleep difficulties and fatigue. Sensory consequences of mild TBI can include blurred vision, a bad taste in the mouth or ringing in the ears. Cognitive and social effects like trouble with concentration and attention, memory problems and moodiness can result.

Usually a mild head injury does not involve loss of consciousness, but the injured person could black out for a few moments. A longer period of unconsciousness raises suspicion of more serious TBI. Persons whose TBI is severe can lapse into extended unconsciousness or coma.

In cases of severe TBI, the injured person is likely to experience symptoms like those of mild TBI, but exacerbated. Headache can be intense and persistent. The injured person could be nauseated and may vomit repeatedly. Beyond mere dizziness, the person may have weak limbs and convulsions or seizures. Observers may note that one or both of the injured person's pupils are dilated, and the person's speech may be slurred. Emotional distress may be evident, exemplified by restlessness, agitation or confusion.

Recovery from TBI

Treatment for TBI depends on its severity. Immediate medical attention including diagnostic imaging is necessary, and stabilizing the injured person is a priority to prevent further brain damage. Blood pressure is closely monitored and oxygen supply to the body is a concern.

In the long term, recovery from this kind of injury can be slow. Along with medical attention to the site of the injury, patients may need physical therapy, psychological counseling and other rehabilitative treatment.

The costs of TBI

The CDC estimates that TBI costs the nation about $76.5 billion a year. These costs include both direct medical expenses and indirect costs.

The financial impact on each TBI victim will depend on the circumstances, but medical treatment is certainly expensive, even for a mild TBI. When an injury was due to someone's negligence, the victim can benefit from filing a personal injury claim to recover the cost of medical care. A personal injury attorney will be able to pursue a lawsuit asking for not just medical costs, but also lost wages due to the injury and compensation for pain and suffering, which can be considerable. It is important to take action to secure the financial means to deal with these complex and persistent injuries.