At least 2.8 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. As prevalent as they are, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Some signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can appear immediately, while others can take several hours, days, or weeks to appear.
The signs and symptoms of a TBI can also be signs of other health issues, injuries, or diseases, making them sometimes tricky to diagnose.
In this article, we discuss traumatic brain injury symptoms and what precisely a TBI is, different types and treatments. We will also discuss why you should speak with a seasoned serious traumatic brain injury lawyer if you believe you or someone you loved suffered a TBI.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Before we dive into the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, you might be wondering about the definition of a traumatic brain injury.
A TBI occurs when a person suffers a sudden trauma that causes damage to the brain. TBIs can result from a significant, sudden, and sharp jolt or blow to the head or from an object piercing through the skull and into the brain.
Mild to moderate TBIs usually have short-term, temporary effects before resuming normal brain function. Severe TBIs, on the other hand, often lead to permanent and severe brain damage that will significantly alter your life. The most severe brain injuries will lead to death.
An injury to the brain can affect one’s ability to communicate, comprehend, move, think, and function daily.
Signs and Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are often referred to as silent injuries or even silent killers because a victim can appear symptomless for quite some time after a blow to the head.
Usually, a delay in presenting symptoms can make individuals attribute them to something else entirely. There is also a wide array of symptoms, many of which can be associated with other injuries or illnesses.
If you were recently involved in an accident or any episode that impacted your head, looking for possible TBI signs and symptoms is imperative.
A doctor should always see you after head trauma to ensure there are no underlying injuries. A person with a TBI may appear fine and act normal but, under the surface, have a grave injury that requires immediate intervention. Never ignore symptoms of a possible head or brain injury.
Symptoms to watch out for include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A persistent or sudden onset headache,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Memory loss,
- Abrupt mood swings,
- Loss of balance or coordination,
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
- Slurred speech and trouble forming a sentence or thought,
- Inability to focus,
- Difficulty walking, and
- Sudden personality changes.
It is possible only to experience one of these symptoms or several simultaneously. There is no one-size-fits-all for brain injury symptoms, and what you experience can be drastically different from someone else.
Because symptoms can often be delayed, TBIs can initially go untreated, resulting in worsening or additional injuries. Seeking immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms is crucial.
Type of Traumatic Brain Injury
While the signs and symptoms can vary depending on the accident, injury, and circumstances, there are generally two types of traumatic brain injuries: penetrating and non-penetrating. Both can be mild, moderate, or severe and display different symptoms.
- Penetrating TBI. A penetrating TBI happens when an object, such as a bullet, piece of metal, or knife, pierces the skull and penetrates the brain.
- Non-penetrating TBI. A non-penetrating TBI does not pierce the skull or otherwise puncture the brain. Instead, a strong external force causes the brain to move rapidly and violently within the skull.
It is possible to experience both, and those that do typically suffer the most severe consequences. Contact a traumatic brain injury attorney to learn more about the different types of TBIs and their causes.
Medical Negligence & TBIs
While accidents cause many brain injuries, a significant number are caused by medical errors or negligence. Victims can suffer severe, life-long brain injuries due to medical malpractice.
Some of the most common brain injuries caused by medical malpractice include cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, and anoxia. Surgical mistakes, anesthesia errors, and more can cause TBIs.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment
The appropriate course of treatment for your TBI will depend on the circumstances, including the type, cause, and severity of the injury. Standard treatments can include:
- Medicine administration to prevent nerve damage and clots and promote healing,
- Intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP),
- Drainage catheters,
- Oral medications, and more.
The kind of brain injury typically determines the type of treatment. After any head trauma, doctors and medical professionals will employ tests and diagnostic tools to diagnose your injury and implement a treatment plan. Diagnostic tools include physical assessment, MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans.
Mild TBI Treatment
Generally, for mild TBIs, not much is done regarding treatment. Typically, observation, rest, monitoring, and making sure the patient is comfortable are all that a doctor will initially prescribe. If symptoms persist or worsen, more intervention and treatment might be required.
Moderate to Severe TBI Treatment
The more severe the TBI, the more important it is to seek immediate treatment. An initial brain injury can cause secondary harm if left untreated.
For instance, swelling, bleeding, and brain oxygen loss can lead to secondary injuries and more extensive damage. Treatment may include surgery to reduce or stop brain bleeding, prevent seizures, or stabilize the patient.
Many individuals who suffer moderate to severe TBIs will require extensive physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation to help relearn basic skills such as eating, talking, walking, and drinking.
New Mexico Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
At Poulos & Coates, we are focused on holding medical professionals accountable for their negligence and errors and getting you and your family the compensation you deserve. We have lawyers and a doctor on staff to ensure your case receives top-notch representation.
If you are experiencing traumatic brain injury symptoms after medical treatment, contact us for a no-cost consultation to discuss your options.