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Understanding TBI treatment and risks

Patients in Pennsylvania who suffer traumatic brain injuries might not fully understand their injuries and the treatment and risks involved. TBIs occur when an object violently strikes the head or penetrates the cranium and passes into the brain. The symptoms that the patients experience vary depending on the severity of the injury.

Patients with traumatic brain injuries who experience moderate to severe symptoms, such as repeated vomiting, numbness and continuous headaches, should seek immediate medical attention. Physicians may use imaging tests, such as neck and skull X-rays or CT scans, to determine the severity of the injuries. Although there is not much that doctors can do to undo the original damage, they can attempt to stabilize the patient and prevent further injury. If the patients have bruised brain tissue or ruptured blood vessels in the brain, they need surgery to remove or repair the damage. Physicians also ensure that the patients' brains receive enough oxygen and maintain proper blood pressure and blood flow.

Some patients become disabled because of TBI and might have trouble with cognition, communication, mental health or processing their senses. The patients could receive rehabilitation, which might include physical, occupational and speech therapies. Other patients could be remain unresponsive or in a vegetative state.

Employees who suffer TBIs in work-related accidents might be eligible for paid medical expenses under workers' compensation law. If a workplace injury causes an employees to be absent from work, the individual could receive wage-loss benefits as well. Injured employees who are unsure about the benefits they may be entitled to could get more additional information from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation helpline or from an attorney who has experience in this area.

Source: NINDS, "NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page", October 29, 2014

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