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Aaron House

Can A TBI Occur Without Loss of Consciousness, and Why Is A Loss of Consciousness Sometimes Not Identified in EMS or ER Records?

With any blow to the head or body, there is a risk of a concussion (a/k/a mild traumatic brain injury or mild TBI). While a mild TBI can occur with a loss of consciousness, they can also occur without a loss of consciousness. A mild TBI is defined as a traumatic brain injury accompanied by a loss of consciousness for 30 minutes or less (and this includes no loss of consciousness). Further, “loss of consciousness”, simply means an altered state of consciousness, and does not necessarily that a person was “out cold” or unconscious. It might simply mean a period of disorientation was experienced, or a hazy period wherein an injured person may not remember the incident that caused the injury to their head.

Altered Consciousness Isn’t Always Obvious

Because it is not always apparent to outside observers (and even medical professionals) that the injured person has undergone a period of altered consciousness, it is not always reported in ambulance or emergency room records. Additionally, the symptoms of a mild TBI may not always present immediately at the time of the injury. It is possible, and even common, for symptoms to begin to appear days or even weeks after the incident. These can be subtle changes and may, therefore, go unnoticed by medical professionals.

Medical Records May Not Be Accurate

Further adding to the confusion is that when a patient is conscious at the time they arrive at the hospital, their medical and incident history is generally taken from the patient themselves. This can lead to inaccurate information if an patient doesn’t remember the incident and is disoriented. The injured person may not know that they suffered a loss of consciousness. For many who suffer a mild TBI, they don’t understand that their lack of memory is indicative of the fact that they have had a concussion. Also, there is typically a gap of 30 minutes or more between the incident that has caused the head injury and arrival at the hospital (this includes time to call 911, time for first responders to arrive, and time to transport the patient to the ER). Therefore, a medical record that indicates no loss of consciousness based on questioning of the patient may not be wholly accurate.

Detailed History Of Facts Is Important

An attorney who represents an individual with a mild TBI in a personal injury claim must be sure to form a detailed history of the accident and the injured client’s medical care. These facts can be vital in a personal injury case in helping to establish an injured person’s damages. Often, the friends and/or family of a person who has sustained a mild TBI play critical roles as well, because they may notice changes in the injured person that the injured person may not even be aware of.

If you have suffered a head injury or have been injured due to another person or company’s negligence, call Aaron House at 816-875-4260 today for a free consultation.

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