“Because traumatic brain injuries are usually emergencies and because consequences can worsen swiftly without treatment, doctors usually need to assess the situation rapidly.” (taken from www.mayoclinic.com)
Brain injuries are complex and your doctor will need to know all the details of what happened in order to better access your situation. The questions below can help you to better understand the information your medical providers will need to properly treat you.
Information about the injury and symptoms
- How did the injury occur?
- Did the person lose consciousness?
- How long was the person unconscious?
- Did you observe any other changes in alertness, speaking, coordination, or other signs of injury?
- Where was the head or other parts of the body struck?
- Can you provide any information about the force of the injury? For example, what hit the person’s head, how far did he or she fall, or was the person thrown from a vehicle?
- Was the person’s body whipped around or severely jarred?
Once the medical care provider has accessed the situation, if a traumatic brain injury is suspected, the doctor can determine what testing is appropriate. The tests listed below seem to be the most common types of diagnostics that doctors use to check for and measure brain injuries. However, I’m sure that there are more out there (testing descriptions and explanations taken from www.mayoclinic.com).
Glasgow Coma Scale – This 15-point test helps a doctor or other emergency medical personnel assess the initial severity of a brain injury by checking a person’s ability to follow directions and move their eyes and limbs. The coherence of speech also provides important clues. Abilities are scored numerically. Higher scores mean milder injuries.
Computerized Tomography (CT) – A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed view of the brain. A CT scan can quickly visualize fractures and uncover evidence of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), blood clots (hematomas), bruised brain tissue (contusions), and brain tissue swelling.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of the brain. Doctors don’t often use MRIs during emergency assessments of traumatic brain injuries because the procedure takes too long. This test may be used after the person’s condition has been stabilized.
Intracranial Pressure Monitor – Tissue swelling from a traumatic brain injury can increase pressure inside the skull and cause additional damage to the brain. Doctors may insert a probe through the skull to monitor this pressure.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.