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How traumatic brain injuries affect patients and families

Physical injuries can cause long-term or permanent damage to the brain. A traumatic brain injury can negatively impact a Greenville patient's life and, due to medical expenses and wage losses, may destabilize a family's finances. It's vital for family members to understand the effects of a TBI upon a loved one and the legal options available when an injury is caused by medical malpractice.

Brain trauma can be the result of a direct or indirect injury like a violent blow caused by a car accident or contact sports. Physicians may not be able to undo damage that has been done. However, North Carolina doctors are expected to make every effort to diagnose the severity of a TBI, prevent further damage and help recovering patients achieve the best quality of life possible.

Initial symptoms common to victims with mild TBIs are also experienced by more seriously injured patients. Some injured individuals may not lose consciousness after a mild TBI, while others remain briefly unresponsive. Severely injured patients may enter a stupor, vegetative or comatose state.

Victims of mild TBIs often experience sensory changes like tinnitus, blurry vision and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. The patient may be tired, confused and dizzy and display uncharacteristic behaviors or moods. Cognitive abilities may be impaired.

More seriously injured TBI patients often become agitated. Additionally, brain injury sufferers may have seizures, numbness or weakness, nausea, painful headaches and speaking or coordination problems. The intensity and number of symptoms generally runs parallel to the extent of brain damage.

TBI disabilities are related to the site and seriousness of an injury and a patient's age and preexisting health condition. Approximately 50 percent of all head injury patients undergo surgery to repair damaged brain tissue and blood vessels. Extensive rehabilitative therapy may be needed.

Legal claims can help families recover compensation, when TBI patients are harmed due to improper medical treatment.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, "NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page," accessed July 23, 2015

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