Traumatic brain injuries and the long road to recovery: Part II

Traumatic brain injuries and the long road to recovery: Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about living with and recovering from a traumatic brain injury. This is an injury that afflicts about 1.7 million people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And at any time, there are about 5.3 million people who need lifelong or long-term help with daily living because of a brain injury.

A woman named Amy, who recently shared her story in a newspaper op-ed, was one of those victims. Now 46, she suffered a severe traumatic brain injury at age 27. In addition to severe pain and physical problems, Amy notes that she suffered from cognitive, social and emotional issues as well.

Normal cognitive functioning can be permanently impaired by a brain injury. Amy notes that she suffered (or still suffers) from short-term memory problems, forcing her to rely on a "series of Post-it notes" to remember even basic things.

She also describes the emotional amplification that she experienced as a result of her brain injury. Everything she felt - fear, anger, joy, sadness - was magnified to extreme levels. Depression was also a long-term problem after her TBI, which is common for brain injury victims.

Finally, Amy says, TBI largely robbed her of a social life. She had to avoid public places with large crowds, bright lights and loud noises. Her brain would "shut itself off" if she was exposed to too much sensory stimulation.

According to a website she created, Amy is now doing quite well for herself and her family. But her recovery has taken almost 20 years. Many of us could not imagine struggling so hard for so long.

We share Amy's story because it illustrates the kind of problems that many victims face after suffering a traumatic brain injury. It is often a life-changing injury with an expensive and long-term prognosis.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury caused by someone else's negligence, it may be a mistake to take a settlement without assessing the full extent of your injuries and health care needs. In order to better understand your rights and legal options, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle, " Before riding without a helmet, know what a brain injury is like," Amy Morosini, March 3, 2015

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