Answered by: Matthew B.F. Biren of Biren | Katzman
Moderate and severe brain injuries have acute symptoms which are relatively easy to detect, including prolonged loss of consciousness and profound cognitive and emotional difficulties; often penetrating wounds (like a bullet) or traumatically caused skull fractures are also involved.
“Mild” traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) or closed head injuries are significantly more difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms are far more subtle and often overlooked by doctors who are not specifically trained to recognize the signs of MTBI. Estimates are that MTBI annually causes approximately 130 hospitalizations for every 100,000 population and that the occurrence rate may be as high as 640 per 100,000. The medical terminology of “mild” traumatic brain injury is misleading, as the effects of an MTBI can often last years or even be lifelong and are virtually always devastating.
Symptoms of MTBI, concussion or Post Concussion Syndrome (synonymous terms) include:
Indications of MTBI:
- Brief loss of consciousness or altered state of mind; e.g., spaced out
- Amnesia of less than 24 hours for events following the accident / traumatic event
- Blurred vision
- Sleep difficulty, insomnia
- Fatigue, weakness
- Memory (this is the symptom most often endorsed with MTBI)
- Difficulty with attention or concentration
- Impaired problem solving
- Reduced ability to process information
- Word finding
- Anger outbursts
- Sensory disturbances
- Poor social functioning.
- Post traumatic stress disorder
Our understanding of concussions and closed head injuries or MTBI is increasing every year; much of the research being done in connection with injuries sustained by soldiers and athletes. Years ago it was widely believed that the effects of MTBI or PCS always resolved in a few months. Today it is documented in medical literature that while many recover or learn to effectively adapt to the effects of MTBI or PCS in 3-12 months, for others (estimated at as many as 20% of those sustaining an MTBI ) the effects can last years or even a lifetime.
There is no dispute that people who suffer a MTBI have a significantly reduced quality and enjoyment of life for however long the symptoms persist.
Related Practice Area: Personal Injury Plaintiff: General
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