Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents, and unintentional accidents were the fifth most common cause of death in Indiana in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Brain Injury Awareness Month was established to raise public attention to this important public health concern and to the challenges that people with traumatic brain injuries face.
It is important the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are recognized, as early medical intervention is extremely important for recovery. Even a minor accident can leave an individual with severe impairments, either physical, cognitive or both.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Checklist of Symptoms:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Sleep troubles (unable to sleep, sleeping more than usual)
- Lack of balance
- Loss of consciousness (seconds or minutes)
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Checklist of Symptoms:
If you have any of these symptoms you should consult a doctor immediately.
- Loss of consciousness (minutes or hours)
- Severe worsening headache
- Repeated vomiting
- Ongoing nausea
- Convulsions, seizures
- One or both pupils dilated
- Clear fluid from nose or ears
- Cannot be awakened
- Weakness in fingers, toes
- Numbness in extremities
- Coordination problems
- Extreme confusion
- Agitation or combativeness or other behavioral changes
- Slurred speech pattern
Children and TBI: What to Watch For
Young children who are injured do not have the ability to communicate what is happening. Parents need to watch for the following symptoms in young children, as it could indicate a TBI:
- Change in eating habits
- Change in nursing habits
- Persistent crying
- Inability to be consoled
- Loss of interest in favored activities or playthings
- Mood changes, sadness or depression
Checklist for Home Safety: Helping a Family Member With TBI
There are several actions you can take at home that will help a family member who is suffering with symptoms of TBI. The checklist will help to keep your loved one safe, as well as the rest of the members of your family.
- Use a timer for cooking that has a loud alert.
- Use a whistling kettle to boil water or an electric auto-shut off kettle.
- Keep common food items in a standard, unchanging location.
- Preprogram commonly used phone numbers into your home phone, including emergency services.
- Use a calendar or scheduling book as a reminder of important appointments and events.
- Put a list by the door that reminds the person to lock the door and turn off appliances before leaving.
- Color code keys for easy use.
- Post written directions for common tasks (laundry, dishes, etc.)
- Keep toxic substances hidden and locked away.
- Label cabinets.
- Use new technologies as they become available (memory assisting apps, etc.)
Independent Living: You Can Help
People suffering from a TBI are just like us. They want to experience love, kindness and live independently. The limits put on them by the injuries can be very stressful, and we need to do all we can to reduce frustration they feel when they unable to care for themselves. Interaction with friends and family is reassuring and is a powerful aid in recovery. Never give up. Keep finding new ways to engage your loved one. Learn all you can about traumatic brain injuries. Many support organizations are available to help you, both national and local. The Brain Injury Association of Indiana is a good starting point to find resources to help you, your loved one, or to provide support for the caregivers in the family.
Legal Help for Accident Victims in Indianapolis
The Sevenish Law Firm serves as counsel in cases of TBI related to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents, among other personal injury cases. We are dedicated, professional and compassionate. Call today for immediate assistance with your case.