After suffering a head injury, you might black out for several minutes or longer, and you can suffer a range of complications once you wake up. The types of complications you suffer can depend on the severity of your head injury, with brain injuries causing the most serious complications. Proper medical treatment is critical to your recovery, so always seek immediate medical assistance if you suspect a head injury.
- Types of Head Injuries
- After suffering a blow to your head in an accident, you might develop any of the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Skull fracture
- Cuts or lacerations to the scalp or face
Cuts and other surface injuries may be straightforward to diagnose and treat, while injuries to your brain may be much more difficult to diagnose. If you notice changes to your mood or sleep patterns, or if you have difficulty concentrating and remembering events, see a doctor immediately as you may have suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.
Complications from Cuts and Other Wounds
A cut, laceration, abrasion, or another skin injury should heal easily if you receive prompt treatment. Stop the flow of the blood with a towel or bandage, and then wash the wound with water (but not hot or warm water). If the wound is deep, you might need to go to the hospital or an urgent care facility to close the wound with dermal adhesive, staples, or stitches. If not, apply an antibiotic ointment, then cover the wound with a sterilized bandage and replace as needed.
Cuts and other injuries to the skin can cause several complications, including the risk of infection if you did not wash or cover the cuts properly. If you notice the wound getting red or leaking pus, or if you have a fever or pain that worsens after a few days, get to the doctor right away. Your doctor might prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to deal with the infection.
Cuts also cause another complication—the risk of scarring or permanent disfigurement. Scarring on the face can be particularly upsetting because it is so visible. Victims can suffer tremendous emotional distress, including:
Depending on the severity of the scarring or disfigurement, plastic surgery might be helpful. Many scarred patients need psychological counseling or therapy to deal with serious facial disfigurements as they run the risk of isolating themselves from the public, as well as from family and friends.
Cognitive Complications From Brain Injuries
When you suffer a blow to your head or body, your brain can move slightly and impact the inside of your skull. As a result, you might suffer a variety of complications if your brain is bruised. For example, many people suffer from the following effects on their consciousness after a concussion:
- Stupor: partial or almost total unconscious, where the patient needs strong stimuli to respond
- Coma: complete unconsciousness in which the patient cannot be awakened even with strong stimuli
- Persistent vegetative state: unconsciousness with the cerebral cortex not functioning
- Minimally conscious state: like a persistent vegetative state, but the patient can process information
- Locked-in syndrome: a patient is awake and aware of their surroundings but cannot communicate due to paralysis of their entire body
- Brain death: the brain loses the ability to function
Even if the patient regains consciousness, they might suffer many cognitive deficits that will dramatically affect their daily lives. For example, brain injury patients can develop the following:
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
- Impaired judgment
- Problems planning
- Difficulty problem-solving
- Slowed processing ability
- Impaired short-term or long-term memory
Patients who suffer a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) generally suffer greater cognitive deficits than those who suffer a mild concussion or brain injury. However, researchers speculate that multiple mild TBIs have an cumulative effect and can result in serious problems, particularly later on in life. The National Football League has put chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the news because retired players have suffered from Parkinson’s disease, memory problems, or dementia as a result of numerous low-key head traumas over the course of their careers.
TBI patients exhibit a range of physical ailments as a result of their head injuries. Some of these ailments will require only over-the-counter medications, but others might require prescription drugs or surgery to treat. For example, many patients experience:
- Increased blood pressure
- Blood clots
When victims suffer skull fractures or damage to nerves and muscles in the head, they may also suffer facial paralysis, loss of vision, loss of facial sensation, and difficulties swallowing. Skull fractures also pose a risk of infection.
Other Complications from Brain Injuries
Those who suffer from a brain injury might also suffer from communication problems, including the inability to produce written or spoken communication. Many patients have slurred, garbled, or halting speech. The precise problems with language will depend on which parts of the brain have been injured.
Sensory deficits are also a common complication. After a TBI, a patient might lose their ability to smell, taste, hear, or touch. TBI patients frequently struggle with hand-eye coordination and balance, which makes them appear clumsy or drunk. As a result of sensory problems, many TBI patients need to stop working, at least temporarily, until their symptoms improve.
Lastly, many behavioral and emotional changes are associated with traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury might increase your risk of any of the following:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic attacks
These behavior changes should improve or disappear as your brain injury heals. However, after a moderate TBI, some patients may exhibit behavioral changes for several years and may continue to be irritable, have difficulty concentrating, or no longer enjoy favorite activities.
Contact a Clearwater, Florida Head Injury Lawyer
If an accident has left you with a head injury, help is available. At Dolman Law Group, our team of head injury lawyers has obtained compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering for many of our clients. To schedule a free consultation, call 727-451-6900 or fill out our contact form.