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Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Treatment Options

Posted on April 16, 2012 by Braswell Murphy


More than 5,000,000 people in the United States live with some type of traumatic brain injury.  “John” is one of those people.  After what seemed like a mild car accident 5 years ago, John began suffering from a lot of (what he called) “weird” symptoms – headaches, fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating.  After being rear-ended by another vehicle, John was initially diagnosed with a concussion and mild whiplash.  But he and his wife began to notice that John never quite returned to his old self.  After several years of trying to work through his new symptoms, John and his wife finally found a neurotrauma rehab specialist that properly diagnosed him with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and post-concussion syndrome.  The correct diagnosis and treatment regimen (medication and physical therapy) have help John and his family return to their normal lives.

Like John, millions of people suffer every day with the life-long effects of traumatic brain injuries.  These types of injuries are most often caused by the sudden force of a hit (like a car accident), a fall or a blast.  Some brain injuries leave patients alive but in a vegetative state – others are seemingly mild but but cause drastic changes in mood, memory and cognitive ability.  Recent news stories about traumatic brain injuries (Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and athletes who have died or suffered brain damage as a result of multiple hits to the head) have led to a greater awareness of these types of injuries and their lasting effects on the people that suffer them.  Thanks to this new awareness, Harvard Medical School and affiliated hospitals have undertaken a vast new research and development project that they hope will provide new therapies and treatments for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

As with anything else, their are upsides and downsides to the new and improved therapies for brain injury patients.  The upside: recent improvements in medical care have led to the survival of patients with some of the most severe brain damage.  The downside: the consequence of this success is that our healthcare system must  face the long and complicated challenge of rehabilitating these patients.  Most of the time, the severely brain damaged patients have been dismissed as hopeless.  However, new brain-imaging studies have, in the past few years, revealed surprising activity in patients who appear to be unconscious – suggesting that even in the case of a devastating brain injury, there may be a residual capacity for the brain to function, which may be helped by new therapies and medications.

Joseph Giacino, director of rehabilitation and neuropsychology at Spaulding Hospital (a Harvard Medical School affiliate)  has been recruited to lead a program of treatment research on people who suffer from severe brain injuries.  Giacino has been a leader in efforts to establish standards of care for people suffering from TBI’s.  He has helped to create a group of ten hospitals/treatment centers in the United States and Europe that will gather large amounts of information regarding brain injuries and current treatments and release their initial findings later this year.  Part of Giacino’s goal is to help to better define standards for the general term “brain damage” – and to better track which therapies/medications work and which do not.

At Braswell Murphy we understand what a traumatic brain injury can mean not only for the person who suffers the injury but for the entire family as well.  If you or a loved one has suffered any type of brain injury or TBI and would like to speak with a lawyer immediately, please call us at 800-554-9260 or you can e-mail us at kasie@braswellmurphy.com.  If you need to speak with a lawyer after-hours or on the weekend, attorney Kasie Braswell welcomes calls to her cell phone at any time – 251-942-9486.