Severe brain injuries can be life-changing for families
Car crash injuries like broken bones and lacerations are usually easy to spot immediately following an accident. But one of the most serious injuries may be invisible at first, and symptoms may not emerge until long after the accident.
These potentially fatal injuries are commonly called “brain bleed” injuries, and are also known as hematomas or brain hemorrhages. They may result from a direct blow to the skull or occur when the force of an accident causes the brain to move violently inside the skull. Sometimes, the injury worsens over time and isn’t detectable until years later.
The prognosis for recovery varies from person to person, based on the region of the brain affected, along with a person’s overall health and age. Surgery, rehabilitative care, and in some cases, lifelong medical support may be required.
The most common type of brain bleed injury is called a subdural hematoma. This injury occurs when blood vessels or veins rupture between the brain and the membranes covering the brain. Blood is trapped in this area and, as it collects, it exerts pressure on the brain. With time, that pressure can cause brain damage or death.
Subdural hematomas are classified as:
- Chronic – This is a slow-bleeding injury, and symptoms may not be evident immediately. When a doctor diagnoses this condition, some patients may not even recall how and when they suffered a head injury.
- Subacute – This is another type of slow-bleeding injury, with delayed onset of symptoms, yet more serious than a chronic subdural hematoma.
- Acute – This is the most dangerous classification of subdural hematoma, usually accompanied by immediate symptoms and rapid bleeding on the brain.
An epidural hematoma, which involves bleeding between the skull and the brain, usually results in immediate loss of consciousness. The hematoma referred to as intracerebral or intraparenchymal is a serious, widespread injury to the brain, unlike the other more localized injuries. This is the type of injury associated with what’s commonly called brain death – when the brain is damaged to the extent that surgery cannot repair it.
If you’ve been in a car crash, it’s important to be aware of any symptoms of a subdural hematoma. Even if you don’t recall hitting your head or aren’t experiencing head pain, any of the following symptoms could be signs of a brain bleed injury:
- Personality changes
- Marked drowsiness
- Balance problems
- Aphasia (difficulty speaking, understanding speech, reading or writing)
- Visual problems (such as seeing double).
A headache that comes on suddenly and is painful enough to cause nausea or vomiting may also be a sign of a severe head injury. If any unusual symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
Surgery and Recovery
Some minor brain injuries may not require surgery, but surgery is often necessary to alleviate dangerous pressure on the brain. If the hematoma is large, doctors may need to remove a portion of the skull to alleviate pressure, and complications of such surgery may include infection, additional injury to the brain, and brain swelling.
In cases of serious brain injury, patients may be left with long-term disabilities. Problems with speech, memory, cognitive skills, and motor function may make it impossible to function independently. Family members may end up in the role of caregiver, or may have to arrange for regular visits from a nurse.
Support for Families
Severe brain injuries can be life-changing for families. The cost of providing daily care for an incapacitated loved one is compounded by the emotional toll of seeing a family member suffer. And in households where the brain injury victim was also the main income-earner, finances are even harder to manage.
Louthian Law Firm knows that a personal injury claim may offer some relief for families struggling with medical costs. And as a small, family-run law firm, you can count on us to give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us today via our online form, or call us to request your no-obligation consultation: (803) 454-1200.