Update on Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation
Brain injury attorneys, like a brain injury attorney in Ohio, often struggle in producing objective evidence of brain damage since some damage is microscopic and obtainable only on autopsy. Likewise, the medical profession has struggled with diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI). Further, once diagnosed — often after a delay — current treatments fall far short. Brain injury attorneys monitor medical journals for information that may be helpful to my clients, including new diagnostic tests that might help prove the long-lasting effects of a brain injury and the development of treatments that might be helpful in minimizing the extent of the injury.
Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injuries
One medical treatment for TBI is tranexamic acid. A study reported in The Lancet, shows that TBI-related mortality may be reduced by as much as 20% in severe cases when tranexamic acid is prescribed. The report further indicates that tranexamic acid is inexpensive and widely available. The treatment is only effective if administered early after the traumatic injury.
Another study suggests that early aerobic exercise after a sports-related concussion may reduce long-term symptoms. This study compared the recovery of adolescent athletes from concussion when two different treatments were provided. The first group was prescribed aerobic exercise while the second group was prescribed stretching exercises. The student-athletes in the first group recovered much faster than those in the second group. There should be more studies like this that provide physicians who diagnose TBIs treatments to reduce the long-term effects of this disabling condition.
Other recent studies confirm what TBI lawyers have long known about post-concussion syndrome. For instance, a study published in Neurology shows that the effects of brain injury after a single concussion can be long-lasting. Many healthcare providers treat a concussion as a single event followed by full recovery after an acute phase. However, this study shows that the effects of a single concussion were present one year later after the patients were expected to have fully recovered. One of the authors commented, “there is growing concern for the long-term health risks associated with concussion. However, we still know relatively little about how the brain recovers from concussion in the long term…”
Effects of a TBI
Other recent studies comment on a range of after-effects associated with TBI. For instance, one small study showed an increased risk of female sexual dysfunction following a concussion. The risk of sexual dysfunction was greater with worsened post-concussion symptoms. The authors commented that women are “one of the fastest-growing subgroups within the TBI population.”
Two other studies address related mental health effects associated with TBI. One study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, reported that the risk of PTSD and depression was increased following even a mild TBI. The other study, published in Psychiatry Online, reports an increased risk of suicide following a TBI. The increase in mental health disorders and suicide following TBI is most prominently seen in the military population and among retired professional athletes.
Finally, a study published in JAMA Neurology confirms that concussions are linked to an increased risk of dementia. The risk of dementia is an important consideration in TBI litigation. Lawsuits are meant to compensate TBI victims for all of the injuries and damages caused by negligence, whether in a car accident, explosion, electrocution, fall, or other personal injury accident. If the TBI victim will require specialized care due to early-onset dementia, the costs of that expensive care must be captured in a personal injury lawsuit. This element of damages requires consideration in any life care plan prepared for a victim of TBI.
Thanks to Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co, L.P.A. for their insight into brain injury litigation.