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Rise in number of brain injuries seen in emergency rooms


Brain injuries, whether incurred from a car accident, fall or other incident, can be very serious.Traumatic brain injuries in particular can require lengthy recovery times and extended hospital stays, increasing the chances of costly medical bills and time off work. According to an analysis of emergency room data from 950 hospitals across the United States, it appears that an increasing number of patients are presenting in ERs with traumatic brain injuries.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The researchers looked at the data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample from 2006 to 2010 and found that while the number of ER visits increased by an average of 3.6 percent nationally during that time, there was a 29.1 percent increase in the number of patients diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

Most of the injuries were concussions, with others being classified as skull fractures and unspecified head injuries. According to the statistics, 87.3 percent of traumatic brain injuries in 2010 were classified as “minor,” and 81.3 percent of brain injury patients seen in the emergency rooms were routinely discharged.

Researchers have posited that one possible reason for the increase is that more people are aware of the seriousness of brain injuries and are more likely to seek medical treatment than in years past. While most brain injuries do heal on their own, it can take time. More serious head injuries can result in the need for long-term care or even permanent disability, making it important for those injured in Massachusetts due to another’s negligence to understand their legal options.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “ER visits for head injuries jump 29% over 4 years” Karen Kaplan, May. 18, 2014


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