Concussions, brain hemorrhages, and mild damage are treatable and can result in full recovery over time. However, according to government figures about 52,000 people with brain injuries die each year and 275,000 are hospitalized, many with persistent, debilitating injuries.
Recovery From TBI
We are fortunate in the Northwest to have some very high quality traumatic brain injury care facilities such as the one at Harborview Medical Center and their affiliates. They treat a large number of car accident victims throughout the Puget Sound and throughout the state.
The first step is immediate diagnosis and treatment, sometimes involving surgery. Once that is done, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) monitoring can last up to a week to make sure the there is no pressure on the brain and the patient is in close proximity to instantaneous emergency services. Then, the long road to recovery begins.
Recovery from TBI depends on the severity of the injury. The patient can be in a coma or have very little brain activity left. However, conscious patient care can involve:
- Extended hospital stays – Being in the hospital can still give the patient access to critical care and proximity to surgical rooms if needed.
- Hospice care – Once the patient is out of the weeds, but is still need of constant care and access to different recovery services on a daily basis, a hospice can provide a more personalized level of care and understanding than some busy hospitals can. They are also generally located on more tranquil grounds and have services that hospitals may not have such as swimming pools, massage care, and TBI recovery specialists.
- Cognitive therapy – This is a profession that is still in its infancy it seems as professionals take on the daunting task of helping the patient control their wandering thoughts, focus, and start steps on being able to retrain to reading and communicating like they were able to previously.
- Physical therapy – Loss of movement, misfiring brain, or numbness requires some patients to learn how to walk, move their fingers, and control their movements. This takes time and a patient professional to help them through this often frustrating experience.
- Surgery – Multiple surgeries and can leave a heavy toll on a patient and can leave them open to infection. Be aware of the long term consequences.
- Psychological therapy – Studies conducted at the University of Washington have recently shown the depression and personality changes are so common in TBI patients that psychological therapy should be a part of the recovery process.
- Memory and speech training – This is a very important part of the recovery process that allows the patient to get back to existing in society and rebuilding their personal relationships.
- Professional Training – This a big part of reintegrating the patient back into their life, however, they may not be able to perform at the same level the had once performed or they may not be able to do their previous job. This doesn’t mean that they can’t live independently and begin another profession that accommodates their unique obstacles (speech, memory, physical, etc).
Amantadine and TBI Recovery
Amantadine is an old influenza drug from the 60’s that seems to be getting a new lease on life if-you-will. This cheap long-generic drug was a little too dangerous to become an over the counter drug because it causes some pretty severe rashes and skin problems as a side effect, but has been prescribed for Parkinson’s disease through the years.
Over the past decade or so, some doctors have started prescribing it to TBI patients after some speculative results and have found that it helps patients with recovery. Now, some research is coming through showing that there are in fact some benefits to patients prescribed the drug.
Researchers conducting a federally funded study published in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine are reporting the first treatment to speed recovery from severe brain injuries caused car crashes. Severely injured patients who were given amantadine got better faster than those who received a dummy medicine.
After four weeks, more people in the flu drug group could give reliable yes-and-no answers, follow commands or use a spoon or hairbrush – things that few of them could do at the start. Far fewer patients who got amantadine remained in a vegetative state, 17% versus 32%.
“This drug moved the needle in terms of speeding patient recovery, and that’s not been shown before,”said neuropsychologist Joseph Giacino of Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, co-leader of the study. He added, “It really does provide hope for a population that is viewed in many places as hopeless.”
Since amantadine is so commonly used, he 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.
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney
Though the research is in its early stages and we do not endorse a commercial pharmaceutical product, we welcome anything that can help our clients who have suffered TBI. We’ve seen how it can effect a person’s life and their family. That is why it is so important that they get the compensation that they deserve in order to get the best care available to help them through the debilitating injury.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a traumatic brain injury then some of the best advice they can get is to find experienced legal council that can properly negotiate with insurance companies and medical care providers to assure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call the brain injury attorneys at Phillips Law Firm for a free consultation on your legal options.
Phillips Law Firm can help you with your Personal Injury claim.
At Phillips Law Firm our lawyers are dedicated to getting you justice and compensation you deserve. Call Phillips Law Firm at 1-800-708-6000, we are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee
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