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Understanding the basics of traumatic brain injuries

A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force impacts the head sufficiently enough to affect the brain's functions. Some Florida residents may not be aware of the extent to which traumatic brain injuries are a public health issue in America.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are falls, traffic accidents, incidents of being struck by or against an object and assaults. While not all head injuries affect the brain, the severity of a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can range from mild to severe. Such injuries reportedly affect at least 1.7 million people in the United States every year and may cause varying degrees of cognitive, emotional and physical impairment. The wide range of functional changes could affect a victim's emotions, language, behavior, thinking and learning.

The long-term effects of a severe brain injury could impair a victim's ability to keep a job that is intellectually demanding. It can also cause impaired movement to the point that the use of physical aids becomes necessary. Moreover, the victim may require the succor of a social worker as well as cognitive therapy. However, one study found that approximately 40 percent of the 275,000 people who are hospitalized for TBI do not receive the appropriate services for all of their specific needs. Some of these needs involve their job skills, their capacity for problem solving and memory, emotional issues and stress management .

Although not a leading cause of traumatic brain injury, birth complications may result in brain injuries that can affect children throughout their lives. These victims and their advocates may wish to explore the option of filing medical malpractice suits against physicians, technicians or hospitals whose failure to provide a reasonable standard of care contributed to the injury. Successful claims sometimes provide the victims with compensation for the many expenses associated with the specialized care necessary to treat their injuries.

Source: Brain Line, "Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury", September 16, 2014

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