According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) In Atlanta, as many as 1.7 million people in the United States experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Experts estimate that the annual cost of such TBIs, costs that inevitably include direct medical costs as well as lost wages and lost work productivity, stretch well into the tens of billions of dollars. TBI is now regarded, appropriately, as a serious and growing public health problem in the United States.
Any hope in the medical community that TBIs were little more than short-term injuries is now all but gone, and it is now understood that the most common symptoms of TBIs—headaches, dizziness, depression, changes in personality, difficulty making decisions, and other cognitive problems—are not short-term, and that even if a patient is given the best known treatment at the right time, they are not necessarily spared of the worst effects of TBIs over time.
Findings from a University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center study have helped to support this difficult truth. The joint study looked into the long-term effects of TBIs by examining 500 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who received treatment at a special headache unit of the military. All 500 patients were diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury incurred during deployment between June 2008 and April 2011. Patients were asked to describe the persistence and severity of common symptoms and effects of TBIs. Data was divided according to whether the patient had suffered a TBI within four years or between five to eight years before the study.
Researchers reported that nearly half of those who suffered a TBI within four years of the study were still experiencing mild to moderate symptoms such as headaches. Nearly the exact same percentage of participants in the study who had suffered a traumatic brain injury between five to eight years before the study were also still experiencing mild to moderate symptoms such as headaches. An even greater percentage of those patients also reported having severe headaches.
While more research is needed to determine the best treatments, as well as who is at a greater risk of developing long-term problems from TBIs, that does very little to help those who are experiencing the difficult effects of even a mild TBI right now.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, or an injury to the spinal cord or a related catastrophic injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess the merits of your case and help you attain compensation to help you deal with pain and suffering, as well as lost wages and the other devastating effects of traumatic brain injury.