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What are signs of a traumatic brain injury?


A first-degree burn is considered an injury that usually can be treated without professional medical assistance. The same is not true for a traumatic brain injury, despite the fact some Boston patients are diagnosed with “mild” TBIs. The victim of a mild TBI may suffer from immediate or delayed symptoms that must be treated seriously.

TBIs are caused by direct injuries or indirect forces that shake, bruise and damage our most vital organ. A TBI can produce symptoms affecting a patient’s physical, mental and emotional state. Short-term, long-term or permanent brain dysfunction is possible following a traumatic brain injury.

A mild TBI is associated with temporary brain damage and symptoms that may take moments or days to become obvious. The victim may lose consciousness briefly or not all. Headaches, sensory sensitivity, nausea and changes in sleeping patterns may be accompanied by physical and cognitive disorientation and mood swings.

Moderate and severe TBIs frequently include intensified versions of these symptoms. For instance, a head injury may cause unconsciousness or semi-consciousness for several minutes, hours or indefinitely. Seizures, profound confusion, crippling headaches and nausea, a severe lack of coordination and other extreme symptoms may become apparent, either immediately or eventually.

Symptoms can worsen as the brain and body respond to injury and, in some cases, a lack of oxygen. Brain swelling, bleeding and infection are possible. Severe nerve damage in the brain may result in paralysis, communication difficulties and negative changes in behavior.

Doctors monitor TBI patients closely for symptom changes and work to minimize additional brain damage. Fluid build-up, brain inflammation and seizures are treated by medication. Surgeries control bleeding, repair fractures and relieve pressure on the skull.

Some TBI patients require extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care, creating enormous medical costs. Patients and their families can recover these expenses and other damages through civil claims against careless defendants responsible for traumatic brain injuries.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Traumatic brain injury” Dec. 28, 2014

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