Traumatic Brain Injury, also referred to as TBI, by the medical community is a sad but common result of accidents such as falls, auto accidents, being hit by objects, and assaults. TBI is more common in children and elderly with the most occurring in elderly as result of falls.
What makes an injury to the head a TBI?
An injury to the head is not necessarily a TBI. The brain must be injured enough to interfere with normal functioning. The following are some of the ways to know if the brain is injured:
- Loss of consciousness (passing out)
- Confusion if awake
- Using the wrong words
- Unable to talk (just making noises)
- Unable to move arms or legs or both
- Loss of balance
- Seizures (convulsions)
- Hard to wake up
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clear fluid draining for ears or nose
A person suffering a head injury, even a head injury that did not seem that bad at the time of injury, will need immediate medical treat if they have any of these symptoms.
How does the damage to the brain occur?
TBI has two different stages in which brain damage can occur. First is the immediate injury which physically damages the brain. Some of these include the actual cut into the head, the breaking of the skull, the bleeding, and jarring movement of the brain against the skull. The second stage can occur hours and days after the initial injury. Some of these potentially deadly issues include bleeding inside the skull (NO ROOM for escaped blood causes death of brain cells), swelling of the brain and problems with the brain’s blood vessels. Medical intervention will focus on managing the second stage to minimize the severity of the TBI.
What should be done if there may be TBI?
As you can see family and medical support are crucial for the best outcome when someone is possibly suffering from a TBI. Getting the patient timely medical care is crucial and the family needs to assume decision making responsibilities since the injured person mostly likely will not be able to make decisions and if they are the decisions may not be sound. The family will need to be ready to provide answers to important questions the medical team will have about the incident. Some of the questions that may need answering include:
- When did the injury occur?
- What caused the injury?
- What was the direction and force of blow to head?
- Did the victim become unconscious?
- How long was victim unconscious?
- If unconscious, was the victim able to move arms or legs?
- Did a seizure or convulsion occur?
- Did the victim’s mental alertness change?