Traumatic brain injuries are a serious problem, for both individuals and for the whole state of Washington. TBIs are often a personal tragedy. They can impact someone’s ability to function at home and at work. TBIs can even result in death. On a systemic level, TBIs are incredibly expensive. They lead to big medical bills, and they take people away from productive work.
TBIs by the numbers
Approximately 288,000 people are hospitalized for traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. each year. This kind of trauma has many causes and occurs across all age groups. Falls, sporting injuries, physical fights and auto accidents can all be causes of traumatic brain injuries. Children under four, the elderly and thrill-seeking young adults are the most common demographics to be afflicted with TBIs.
Symptoms of brain injuries include headaches, nausea, confusion and trouble speaking. It’s important to seek medical attention for TBIs as soon as possible after they occur. Recovery can depend on getting treatment quickly. For example, bleeding on the brain may require surgical intervention.
Even with prompt medical treatment, recovery from TBIs can depend on the severity of the initial injury. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a useful tool for measuring patients outcomes. Those with mild injuries may have dizziness, headaches and mood swings. However, they tend to improve over the course of a few weeks.
Moderate TBIs are much worse for patients. Roughly a quarter of these patients will have a lasting disability. Only about 60% will truly recover, and about a third of patients with severe head injuries will die. Many of these injuries are caused by the negligence of other parties, such as a distracted or impaired driver, and these victims might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.