As you know I am not a fan of qualifying brain injuries and my reason being, EVERY BRAIN INJURY IS SERIOUS, having said that I want to address a area greatly overlooked by the medical community and hopefully others will copy this page and present it to their local hospital....It might just save a life or two.
When a person comes to an emergency ward they are soon questioned about what is wrong. It's a good place to start, however it ends up classifying your injury into scale of minor or serious. Obviously we need to triage our patients and treat the most critical first.
It is referred to the "Golden Hour", that first hour post injury, if left untreated, reduces the survival rate dramatically.
When it comes to trauma to the face head or neck a weird anomaly occurs. We look at the patient and determine that he/she has a bleeding nose. Recently my 12 year old grandson presented with this very scenario and guess what?
The exact thing I feared occurred. He was not sent to the hospital by the soccer staff and went for a sleepover at a friends. His mom saw him the next day with the two shiners and asked what had happened and he said he broke his nose playing soccer.
That was the sum total of his treatment.
What is worse is if he had gone to the hospital he would have been informed that his nose was broken and sent home with an ice pack and that would have been the end of the journey.
If you have a concussion, the rattling of the brain, bringing on temporary loss of consciousness, you are given a list of what to watch for by the medical staff and if a headache ensues or he does not awake easily then you are instructed to return to the hospital.
If you are punched or hit by a base ball or soccer ball, fall off your bike, are in a MVA and suffer whiplash, your are classified by the hospital as Whiplash, broken nose, broken jaw, skull fracture and the list goes on.
NOT ONE CLASSIFICATION MAKES MENTION OF THE FACT THAT ANY TRAUMA TO THE HEAD THAT RENDERS ONE TEMPORALLY UNCONSCIOUS, HAS A FORCE SUFFICIENT TO FRACTURE A BONE IN THE HEAD, OR CAUSES WHIPLASH IS SUFFICIENT ENOUGH TO CAUSE BRAIN INJURY!
All head injuries should be reclassified as a broken nose and possible brain injury. Every broken jaw should be classified as broken jaw and possible brain injury. Every concussion should be classified as concussion and possible brain injury. Every skull fracture should be classified as skull fracture and possible brain injury.
To not bring attention to the most crucial organ in the body, the brain, has me questioning the medical community as to why they could overlook this crucial error in judgement?
If we drew attention to the potential of a brain injury we could encourage the loved ones to pay attention to the behavior of the injured and see if there are any signs or symptoms when the patient is released from the hospital.
Brain bleeds can occur from trauma to the neck or head. This may be a mild bruise however they are now seeing long term affects on sports personnel who have suffered several concussions and their brain has lesions and the entire brain becomes diseased.
The person becomes violent or suicidal later in life from such trauma.
We may not be able to prevent a concussion in sports however we may be able to prevent a second or third by having the person quit the sport before it becomes a life sentence.
It is up to us as individuals to be proactive when it comes to brain injury before it happens. By wearing helmets, not heading a soccer ball in the younger leagues, and taking all head trauma as a potential brain injury can save someone their life.
Be aware of the fact that head and neck trauma may result in brain injury.
I hope the Doctors in your emergency department will read this and reclassify all head and neck trauma to include potential brain injury. It may not change the treatment but at least you will be made aware of the potential long term affects of multiple traumas to the head and maybe reduce how many one receives by modifying ones behavior.