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SC Brain Injury Lawyer – Disabilities Resulting from Head Trauma

Brain injury often results in various disabilities.  The disabilities that result rather reasonably depend on the nature and severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the health and age of the individual.

Common disabilities include problems with:

  • thinking, memory, and reasoning (Generally cognition),
  • the senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell,
  • the ability to speak, be understood, and to understand others, and
  • behavior and mental health: individuals might suffer from a variety of mental health disorders or simply experience a personality change.

However, with more serious brain injuries, individuals may experience more serious symptoms:

  • stupor:  The individual is unresponsive except to the very strongest stimuli;
  • coma: The individual is entirely unconscious, unresponsive, unaware, and unarousable;
  • vegetative state: The individual is unconscious and unaware of the world, but unlike with a coma, the individual has a sleep-wake cycle and periods of alertness; and
  • persistent vegetative state (PVS): The individual stays in a vegetative state for more than a month.

If you think you or someone you know have suffered a brain injury, seek medical help immediately.  Then seek the counsel of experienced brain injury attorneys like those at Reeves, Aiken, & Hightower.  We know how to fight for you and your family in serious brain injury cases.  Compare our credentials to any other law firm. Then call 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation. Don’t worry. We are here for you.

SC Brain Injury Lawyer – Brain Injury Treatment

Obviously, anyone who suspects their brain has been injured should receive medical attention as soon as possible.

After a brain injury the medical focus is on preventing further injury.  This is because most often little to nothing can be done to undo the injury.  Doctors will work on maintaining proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining blood flow, and controlling blood pressure to prevent additional injury.

X-rays or CT scans will likely be taken to assess the injury.  Whether your doctor will order an X-ray or a CT scan will depend on serious your injuries.  A concern whenever there is a serious injury is that doctors, being squeezed by healthcare insurers will skimp on care.  Since CT scans are so much more expensive than X-rays, the conservative treatment is to use X-rays.

Middling to more severe brain injuries will seriously life changing and injured patients can expect extensive rehabilitation involving  tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry, psychology/psychiatry, and social support.

Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue).

If you think you or someone you know have suffered a brain injury, seek medical help immediately.  Then seek the counsel of experienced brain injury attorneys like those at Reeves, Aiken, & Hightower.  We know how to fight for you and your family in serious brain injury cases.  Compare our credentials to any other law firm. Then call 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation. Don’t worry. We are here for you.

SC NC Head Injury – Severe Brain Injury – New Hope For Recovery

The trial attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, are experienced serious injury lawyers who handle brain injury cases. As a former intensive care unit Registered Nurse (RN), Robert Reeves has actually treated patients with life-threatening head injuries just like the clients he now fights for in court. Sadly, closed head or traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs more often than earlier realized and can result from even relatively minor trauma during automobile accidents, large truck accidents, motorcycle accidents (even with a helmet), and work-related accidents (workers’ compensation injuries). Fortnuately, medical science continues to make significant advances in the treatment of these injuries and offers hope to those persons and their families who have been involved in serious accidents. The article below shows just such a new tool and may be a treatment option for your loved one. We would welcome an opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your particular case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com

Flu drug Amantadine may boost recovery from severe brain injuries

(CBS/AP) Medicines generally have side effects, but once in awhile the side effects may treat other conditions. Viagra after all, was originally a blood pressure medicine. Amantadine, an old flu medicine approved in the 1960s, was found a few years later to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Now a new study shows the drug may also speed recovery from severe brain injuries.

The study, published Mar. 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 184 patients who had severe brain injuries caused by falls and car crashes. About a third were in a vegetative state (unconscious but with periods of wakefulness) and the rest were minimally conscious.

The patients were randomly assigned to receive amantadine or a placebo daily for four weeks. They were treated within one to four months after getting injuried – a period when a lot of patients get better on their own, according to study author Joseph Giacino, a neurologist at Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

The researchers found both groups made small but significant improvements, but the rate of recovery was faster in the group getting amantadine. Changes included the ability to give yes-and-no answers, follow commands or use a spoon or hairbrush. Of the patients who received amantadine, only 17 percent remained in a vegetative state, versus 32 percent of those who received the dummy drug.

When treatment stopped, recovery in the amantadine group slowed and two weeks later, the level of recovery in the two groups was about the same.

The study was short, and the effect on long-term outcome is unknown. But Giacino said the drug still has value even if it only hastens recovery. The study also didn’t include those with penetrating head injuries, like the gunshot wound former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords suffered, but Giacino said the drug should have similar effects in those patients. Whether it would work in patients with brain injuries not caused by trauma, such as a stroke, isn’t known.

“This drug moved the needle in terms of speeding patient recovery, and that’s not been shown before,” Giacino said. “It really does provide hope for a population that is viewed in many places as hopeless.”

Many doctors began using amantadine for brain injuries years ago, but until now there’s never been a big study to show that it works.

Doctors first had an inkling that the inexpensive generic amantadine might have other uses a few years after its approval when it appeared to improve Parkinson’s symptoms in nursing home patients. It was found to have an effect on the brain’s dopamine system, whose many functions include movement and alertness, and it was eventually approved for Parkinson’s.

It’s now commonly used for brain injuries, and the researchers felt it was important to find out “whether we’re treating patients with a useful drug, a harmful drug or a useless drug,” said study author Dr. John Whyte, director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in suburban Philadelphia.

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury. Falls, car crashes, colliding with or getting hit by an object, and assaults are the leading causes. About three-quarters are concussions or other mild forms that heal over time. But about 52,000 people with brain injuries die each year and 275,000 are hospitalized, many with persistent, debilitating injuries, according to government figures.

The study didn’t include those with penetrating head injuries, such as gunshot wounds, but Giacino said the drug should have similar effects in those patients. Whether it would work in patients with brain injuries not caused by trauma, such as a stroke, isn’t known.

A neurologist who wasn’t involved in the research called it an important step. But many questions remain, including whether people less severely injured would benefit, and whether amantadine actually improves patients’ long-term outcome or just speeds up their recovery.

Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia said the results were welcome news in a field that has seen many failed efforts. He is director of clinical research at the government’s Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, which works with the military and government scientists on brain injury research.

“It’s an important step toward developing better therapies,” he said.

“Hope is critical and false hope is cruel for families dealing with this,” Susan Connors, president and chief executive of the Brain Injury Association of America, in Vienna, Va, told the New York Times. The new findings are “a little piece of hope, the real kind,” she said.

Since amantadine is commonly used, Diaz-Arrastia said U.S. troops with severe brain injuries in Iraq or Afghanistan probably get it, or should get it now. Since 2000, some 233,000 troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries, including about 6,100 serious cases, many of them from bomb blasts or shrapnel.

What to Look for in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Cases

Symptoms of Brain Injury

Any brain function can be disrupted by brain trauma: excessive sleepiness, inattention, difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, faulty judgment, depression, irritability, emotional outbursts, disturbed sleep, diminished libido, difficulty switching between two tasks, and slowed thinking. Sorting out bonafide brain damage from the effects of migraine headaches, pain elsewhere in the body, medications, depression, preoccupation with financial loss, job status, loss of status in the community, loss of status in the family, and any ongoing litigation can be a formibable task.

The extent and the severity of cognitive neurologic dysfunction can be measured with the aid of neuropsychological testing. Neuropsychologists use their tests to localize dysfunction to specific areas of the brain. For example, the frontal lobes play an essential role in drive, mood, personality, judgment, interpersonal behavior, attention, foresight, and inhibition of inappropriate behavior. The ability to plan properly and execute those plans is known as “executive function.” Frontal lobe injury is often associated with damage to the olfactory bulbs beneath the frontal lobes. Patients may note reduced or altered sense of smell. One recent study (Varney 1993) showed that 92% of brain injured patient suffering anosmia (loss of smell) had ongoing problems with employment, even though their neuropsychological testing was relatively normal.

The effects of brain injury on the patient may be equaled or even surpassed by the effect on the patient’s family. Brain injuries are known for causing extreme stressors in family and interpersonal relationships.

In general, symptoms of traumatic brain injury should lessen over time as the brain heals but sometimes the symptoms worsen because of the patient’s inability to adapt to the brain injury. For this and other reasons, it is not uncommon for psychological problems to arise and worsen after brain injury.

 

SYMPTOM CHECKLIST

A wide variety of symptoms can occur after “brain injury.” The nature of the symptoms depends, in large part, on where the brain has been injured. Below find a list of possible physical and cognitive symptoms which can arise from damage to specific areas of the brain:

Frontal Lobe: Forehead

Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis).
Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing).
Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others.
Loss of flexibility in thinking.
Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration).
Inability to focus on task (Attending).
Mood changes (Emotionally Labile).
Changes in social behavior.
Changes in personality.
Difficulty with problem solving.
Inability to express language (Broca’s Aphasia).

Parietal Lobe: near the back and top of the head

Inability to attend to more than one object at a time.
Inability to name an object (Anomia).
Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia).
Problems with reading (Alexia).
Difficulty with drawing objects.
Difficulty in distinguishing left from right.
Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia).
Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia) that leads to difficulties in self-care.
Inability to focus visual attention.
Difficulties with eye and hand coordination.

Occipital Lobes: most posterior, at the back of the head

Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts).
Difficulty with locating objects in environment.
Difficulty with identifying colors (Color Agnosia).
Production of hallucinations.
Visual illusions – inaccurately seeing objects.
Word blindness – inability to recognize words.
Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects.
Inability to recognize the movement of object (Movement Agnosia).
Difficulties with reading and writing.

Temporal Lobes: side of head above ears

Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia).
Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke’s Aphasia).
Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear.
Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about objects.
Short term memory loss.
Interference with long term memory.
Increased and decreased interest in sexual behavior.
Inability to catagorize objects (Categorization).
Right lobe damage can cause persistent talking.
Increased aggressive behavior.

Brain Stem: deep within the brain

Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech.
Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia).
Difficulty with organization/perception of the environment.
Problems with balance and movement.
Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo).
Sleeping difficulties (Insomnia, sleep apnea).

Cerebellum: base of the skull

Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements.
Loss of ability to walk.
Inability to reach out and grab objects.
Tremors.
Dizziness (Vertigo).
Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech).
Inability to make rapid movements.

This is one of the most effective presentations of latent brain injury I have found. It is located at the website “BrainInjury.com” As a former ICU Registered Nurse (RN), I was impressed with the graphics and list of symptoms depending on which part of the brain was injured. The trial attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, are experienced serious injury lawyers and are uniquely familiar with brain injury cases.  Closed head or traumatic brain injury (TBI) sadly occurs more often than earlier realized and can result from even relatively minor trauma during automobile accidents, large truck accidents, motorcycle accidents (even with a helmet), and work-related accidents (workers’ compensation). We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your particular case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com