Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries are a part of most serious car accidents and many other types of accidents, falls, and mishaps. Even so, there are still a number of misconceptions that confound the issue and cause undue concern for many people. Here, we’ll take a look at some of those erroneous beliefs from both a medical and a legal standpoint.
1. A Mild TBI Will Heal Quickly
Until recent studies proved otherwise, it was believed that mild brain injuries were easily healed. Once outward symptoms dissipated, it was believed that the patient was completely healed. Within three months, most victims of mild TBIs do fully recover their cognitive abilities, but they may still experience long-term problems with memory, attention deficit, and executive functions. This can last for a year or more. This condition puts TBI patients and especially the elderly at a greater risk for falls, which may, in turn, cause additional brain injuries.
2. Every TBI is the Same
Here is another false assumption promoted by those outside of the medical field. Each traumatic brain injury is different, so the symptoms will also be unique. How the TBI manifests is partly dependent upon the type of injury, but largely is influenced by the area of the brain injured in the incident. Other factors that determine how a TBI affects the patient are the patient’s general state of health, the age of the individual, and the victim’s gender. For this reason, it’s vital to seek medical treatment whenever a brain injury could have happened, even when the individual doesn’t notice any symptoms.
3. Direct Head Impact is a Primary Element of Every TBI
In fact, it’s possible to experience a TBI without any impact at all. This commonly occurs on the road. When a car rapidly decelerates or accelerates, the jolt can cause whiplash and can cause the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. Even if there was no collision, the brain has impacted against the skull and a TBI has occurred. Any rapid movement can force the brain to move around in the skull, which is all it takes to cause a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.
4. There Must be a Positive MRI or CT Scan
Many people believe their test results must provide proof of a TBI for them to file a claim. This is simply not true. In fact, noted neurologist Dr. Alexander recognizes that the modern medical community agrees in the failing of current testing methods to diagnose mild TBIs.
“By common clinical agreement, neuroimaging studies are negative,” Dr. Alexander stated in his article. The piece, simply titled “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,” was published in Neurology, a medical journal.
You can learn more of the legal ramifications from this website.
5. A Traumatic Brain Injury Will Present Symptoms Immediately
Here is another fallacy that prevents people from seeking proper medical treatment. When a head injury occurs, most people may complain of head or neck pain, but will promptly shrug it off. They think the pain will go away and it might, but those two symptoms may also be the first indications that the individual has suffered a TBI. Typically, Cognitive and neurological damage won’t become apparent for several hours. It may take time, or the attempt to accomplish specific tasks, for the individual to realize they have suffered a more serious TBI.
6. Mild TBI Occurrences Are Not a Big Deal
Every head injury is significant with the potential to cause major concerns within hours or days. For that reason, every incident should be followed by a medical evaluation. Even a mild TBI puts the victim in danger of developing serious mental illness. This can result in the loss of jobs and friends, a higher risk of substance addiction, and difficulty in maintaining relationships. A mild TBI can create cognitive symptoms which the patient will be unable to control. Even where the TBI may heal quickly, the effects can last up to a year or longer.
7. You Must Lose Consciousness
Even though a 30 year old study led the Congress of Neurological Surgeons to declare that the loss of consciousness was not necessary to suffer a concussion, healthcare professionals still persist in believing otherwise. That three-decade old finding established that a head injury that results in an altering or change in the patient’s mental status is, in fact, a concussion. This is true whether or not the individual loses consciousness.
More recently, the American Psychiatric Press’ Textbook of Neuropsychiatry corroborated those earlier findings.
“Patients with mild TBI may present with somatic, perceptual, cognitive and emotional symptoms that have been characterized as the post-concussion syndrome.”
If you have experienced an accident or mishap, or have any other reason to suspect you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury, seek medical attention immediately. If you do have a TBI, there’s no way to know what symptoms may present at a later time.