Brain Injuries Need Immediate Treatment
In 2009, actress Natasha Richardson fell during a beginner skiing lesson.
Early on, she did not appear to be seriously hurt at all. She talked and
made jokes before returning to her hotel room. There, however, she complained
of head pain and was taken to a hospital. Richardson later died of an
epidural hematoma, a brain injury that happens when the arteries tear
after the skull is struck hard, resulting in bleeding.
Richardson's tragic story illustrates two important points about brain
injuries. First, brain injuries can happen to anyone and from nearly any
type of accident. Second, even though symptoms may not appear immediately,
immediate treatment is critical.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) happen when a blow to the head or a penetrating injury disrupts
normal brain activity. They are actually very common—about 3.5 million
people suffered from a TBI in 2009, though most were concussions. TBIs
contribute to nearly one-third of all injury-related deaths in this country.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
The cause of Natasha Richardson's brain injury was one of the most
common accidents known to cause brain injuries: a simple fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 35.2 percent of brain injuries happen from falls
- 17.2 percent happen from traffic accidents
- 16.5 percent happen when a victim is struck by or against an object
- 10 percent happen from assaults
- 21 percent have unknown or other causes
In short, any accident or incident that causes a blow to the head can cause a
brain injury. The potential for serious long-term impacts is a major reason why people
with brain injuries should seek an immediate evaluation.
What Happens After a Brain Injury
Brain injuries are complex to treat. This is because a brain injury is
rarely just one injury. Instead, further damage develops after the initial
impact. TBIs involve primary injuries, which happen initially, and secondary
injuries. While doctors can't treat primary injuries, they can reduce
the restricted blood supply and other secondary injuries to the brain.
According to a presentation by a doctor with the Defense and Veterans Brain
Injury Center, secondary injuries may follow this pattern after a brain injury:
0 to 6 hours: The development of ischemia, or restricted blood supply to tissues. Autoregulatory
systems may be affected.
7 to 36 hours: Hyperthermia may develop. Inflammation and other changes may occur. Treatments
may have unpredictable results.
1 to 7 days: Edema, or fluid in the brain, may develop. Blood flow may increase. Ultimately,
cell death and brain death may occur.
These changes show why immediate care for a brain injury is critical. Emergency
care providers will ensure that the brain injury victim has enough oxygen
and an adequate blood supply after the accident. They will also maintain
pressure and work to prevent further injury. Treatment will typically
focus on reducing the secondary effects of inflammation, bleeding, and
reduced oxygen to the brain.
Contact an Los Angeles Injury Attorney
If a loved one has suffered a severe brain injury, your first priority
is to help him or her through the first hours and days of treatment. Brain
injuries may require extended periods of
rehabilitation and lengthy treatments. An experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in these cases
understands how brain injuries happen, the full range of consequences
these injuries can bring, and how to litigate cases involving TBI.
You need a legal advocate who is focused on obtaining maximum compensation
to pay for medical care, make up for lost earnings, and compensate for
the diminished quality and enjoyment of life that brain injury victims