Courtesy of the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina, Charleston injury lawyers received a newsletter featuring some startling information not typically covered by media outlets. Currently, there are over 61,000 South Carolinians living with disabilities from traumatic brain injury, or caused by an external physical force, and in the United States a traumatic brain injury occurs at an alarming rate of one every 23 seconds. Combining victims of breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, there are still more individuals suffering from brain injuries. This is in no way to discount the prevalence and severity of other afflictions, it is meant to cast a light on a serious condition that is often overlooked.
The cause of brain injuries is varied, the most common include serious car accidents, bicycle accidents, falls, domestic violence, and/or as a result of combat for veterans. In South Carolina, brain injuries are the number one cause of death in individuals ages 1 to 44. Yearly, over 2,500 individuals are discharged from South Carolina hospitals with brain injury and tens of thousands are seen in emergency rooms statewide to be treated for milder brain injuries.
But, while broken bones and open wounds are obvious for doctors and medical staff to treat, brain injuries are not always easy detect in accident trauma victims. Even when a diagnostic test like an MRI or CT scan is conducted, they often will not show minor shearing or tearing in the brain. In many cases a neuropsychological examination must be given to properly diagnose a brain injury.
Despite being sometimes difficult to diagnose, there is no doubt injuries to the brain can seriously and negatively affect one’s quality of life, restricting the victims ability to live their life with family, friends and work as they did before the accident. In addition to the few causes previously listed, all types of trauma and/or exposure to toxins and other environmental factors can cause traumatic brain injuries. If you, or someone you know, has been in a serious accident of any kind there are some signs to look for that may indicate brain injury; loss of consciousness, concussion, easily confused or irritated, difficulty multitasking, short term and/or memory loss, severe headaches, and personality or mood change.
If a brain injury has been incurred here are tips to aid in your recovery, or the recovery of someone you know. Get lots of rest and don’t rush back to daily activities such as work or school. Avoid doing anything that could result in another blow or jolt to the head. Ask your doctor when it’s safe to drive a car, ride a bike, or use heavy equipment, because your ability to react may be slower after a brain injury. Take only the medications your doctor has approved, and don’t drink alcohol until your doctor says it’s okay. Write things down if you have a hard time remembering. Also, contact the Brain Injury Association in your state to learn more about the programs, supports and services available to people with brain injury and their families.