A traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually results from an accident, sports injury or fall. In some cases, the injured suffers an event that robs the brain of oxygen. A stroke can cause such an injury when a blood clot cuts off the supply of blood and the oxygen it carries. A brain injury can happen in just a moment, yet recovering from one can be a slow, arduous task.
What Should I Expect Immediately Following the Brain Injury?
The first 24 to 48 hours following a brain injury are critically important. Doctors take care not to make predictions about the outcome during this time because the patient’s state can change dramatically from one moment to the next. The treatment that saves one life may fail to help another. After the first 48 hours, the patient is in danger of brain swelling, which can cause additional damage or death. If swelling can be controlled during the first two weeks, the patient has a better chance for a positive outcome.
How Will the Doctor Evaluate the Injury?
Patient injuries may be concentrated in a specific location in the brain, but they are most often diffuse, affecting many areas of the brain. Doctors evaluate the patient’s condition using several technologies including CT scan, BSER and EEG. The main purpose of these tests is to determine the level of brain swelling so that doctors can take steps to stop unchecked swelling causing further damage. However, these tests cannot predict the outcome.
Will My Loved One Awake from Coma?
Those who survive a severe traumatic brain injury may remain in the sleep-like condition called coma. Patients may appear unconscious, but coma is not the same as sleep. In a coma, a patient cannot be roused, but some patients have reported hearing conversations around them in the hospital room. For this reason, it is important to assume the patient can hear what you say when discussing his or her care with the doctor.
It is impossible for anyone to know when the victim of a traumatic brain injury will awaken from coma. Regaining consciousness can be a gradual process. It may take hours, days, months or perhaps years—depending on the seriousness of the case. While some patients recover fully, some never awaken and remain in a persistent vegetative state indefinitely. However, such outcomes only occur in a small number of cases.
How long will it Take My Loved One to Recover?
Healing from a brain injury is often a slow process. The best predictor of the final outcome is the patient’s ability to think, speak and move once the immediate effects of the injury are stabilized. Those brain-injured patients who escape the danger of coma can still have a long road to recovery. Some patients show remarkable improvement immediately following the injury, but they may or may not recover fully. Many people who suffer severe head injuries require constant care for the remainder of their lives.
If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important you meet with a qualified brain injury attorney who can evaluate your case and help you decide if you should pursue a case against the at fault party. Contact us so that we may offer you a free case evaluation and consultation.