How Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Diagnosed And What Is The Treatment?
How Can These Injuries Be Diagnosed, Especially in Terms of Filing a Claim?
Here’s how it’s done from both a medical and a legal standpoint for that purpose:
Legally, attorneys don’t make the diagnosis, but it’s often the case that healthcare providers in general are poorly trained and educated to make these diagnoses. That’s true with pediatricians, primary care specialists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and doctors of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Although there are currently no bio-markers for making a mild TBI diagnosis, the literature is really beginning to facilitate better preparation for making the diagnosis. The diagnosis of traumatic brain injury is a clinical diagnosis.
Clinical diagnoses are made very often by collecting data points, ruling in or ruling out certain diagnoses. It’s called the differential diagnostic process. Differential diagnosis is a term most people have heard of, and some tests will exclude other causes for symptom presentation. The collection of data points from the standpoint of the history, the symptom presentation, the physical complaints, and patterns that are relatively consistent, while excluding other causes, can lead to that diagnosis.
It’s very easy in cases that are litigated for an insurance company or a big corporation to say, “Well, that’s a nonspecific finding.” That’s what we hear all the time. Well, clinically, people who see a patient can arrive at the diagnosis and just because something is a nonspecific finding doesn’t mean that a diagnosis isn’t appropriate. Advances in the field have afforded the opportunity to use advanced neuroimaging techniques that can support or corroborate a TBI diagnosis.
So for some patients, under appropriate circumstances, clients are sent for advanced neuroimaging, which can identify both grey matter and white matter damage within the brain using advanced MRI techniques. It’s not diagnostic, but it can corroborate other compatible findings.
What Kind of Treatments Are People with Traumatic Brain Injuries Going to Be Looking For?
There are a variety of treatments. They are not all available in every geographical area, but someone who is experiencing physical and cognitive and emotional problems can be treated to blunt the full effects of a brain injury.
A patient can have speech therapy, occupational therapy, vestibular therapy, physical therapy, and cognitive therapy. Patients with emotional issues can engage in psychotherapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist or with a psychiatric social worker. Patients can engage in group therapy for a head injury, and they can receive medication to help alleviate anxiety or/or depression, although that really requires some skill because you don’t want medication to further depress cognitive function.
Some patients experience sleep disturbances; they can’t fall asleep, they can’t remain asleep, or they suffer from intractable insomnia.
There are a variety of things that can be done from a medical, psychological, rehabilitative standpoint to deal with new problems and even problems that were pre-existing to some extent but made worse by the TBI. For example, patients can be taught compensatory strategies. It would seem obvious, depending on one’s age, but putting notes around the house to remind them to do things, leaving a note by the door to make sure to turn off the stove, and using electronic devices for making lists and sending reminders and tasks are examples of compensatory strategies.
There are things that can be really dangerous about a brain injury. For example, someone with a brain injury who is having difficulty driving can be very dangerous.
Often with frontal lobe injury, there is damage to the sensory centers involving smell and taste, so people lose the ability to cook well because they can’t taste the food or everything tastes bad or tastes salty. Smelling is important because the ability to smell smoke can save lives in case of fire.
If you are suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury and need information regarding Diagnosis and Treatment Options, call Stewart Casper at the law offices of Casper & de Toledo LLC in Stamford, CT for a free initial consultation at (203) 325-8600 and get the information and legal representation you’re seeking.