Car accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries, and they vary from mild to severe. One potential injury that can lead to life-long consequences is a traumatic brain injury. This injury occurs when the head hits an object with a violent force. Some brain injuries are milder and do not require much treatment, while other injuries can be severe and require acute and long-term treatment.
If someone has been in an accident and is experiencing certain symptoms, it is important that this individual see a car accident doctor. Those with moderate to severe injuries will more than likely need a neurologist in Brooklyn, NY.
At Metro Healthcare Partners, our healthcare professionals have extensive training in neurology, and we can recommend the type of doctor or team of healthcare providers to help manage the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries.
How a Car Accident Causes Brain Injury
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mild, moderate, or severe TBI can occur when there is a jolt, blow or force to the head. This causes the brain to hit the sides and back of the skull. Depending on the type and direction of the force, this can cause bruising, blood clots, and bleeding of the brain tissues. There may also be tearing of the nerves in the brain or brain stem.
Victims of car accidents may experience primary and secondary injuries. The primary injury occurs as the violent impact takes place during the crash. Secondary injuries may crop up during the hours, days and even weeks after the accident occurred. These injuries refer to continual changes that develop in the blood vessels, cells, tissues and chemicals in the brain.
If someone experiences any of the associated symptoms after an accident, he or she needs to seek traumatic brain injury treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Brain Injury
The treatment that a patient receives after a car accident varies based on the type of brain injury. For more minor accidents, the victim may experience a mild brain injury. More serious accidents may result in a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), even concussions are considered brain injuries. Whether a patient suffers from mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries, a car accident doctor can help.
Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Depending on the severity of the head injury, symptoms may appear immediately after the accident, or they may appear hours or days later. For mild TBIs, a crash victim may experience a brief loss of consciousness or feel disoriented or confused immediately after the accident. Sensory indications may include ringing in the ears or blurred vision.
Other common problems that appear shortly after motor vehicle accidents may include nausea, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. During the days following the accident, the patient may notice other signs such as changes in sleeping patterns, depression, memory issues, or changes in mood.
Victims of serious accidents often experience a loss of consciousness that lasts for minutes or even hours. Some may also go into a coma. Common physical symptoms may include loss of coordination, convulsions, worsening headaches, numbness in the extremities, and constant vomiting. Other common complaints include slurred speech, behavioral changes and extreme confusion.
Long-term signs and complications
Patients with mild brain injuries typically do not suffer from long-term complications. However, those with moderate and mild injuries often do. For many, traumatic brain injuries result in permanent disabilities, which may include cognitive, sensory, motor, functional, and language deficits.
Victims often experience personality changes and find it challenging to function in social situations. Some of the long-term effects that require a neurologist in Brooklyn, NY include:
- Difficulty solving problems
- Loss of sensation of body parts
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- Difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or working with numbers
- Inability to operate a vehicle
- Impaired ability with eating, bathing, or dressing
- Aggressive behavior
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Trouble interacting with others and maintaining relationships
Initial Treatment Options from a Car Accident Doctor
The type of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation will depend on a variety of factors. Treatment will be much different for mild injuries than for more serious injuries. Treatment and prognosis also depend on the symptoms, location of the injury, and the age of the patient.
Mild TBIs are much easier to treat. Sometimes the issues go away on their own after a couple of weeks. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and rest for the first few days or a week. Even if a patient seems to feel ok after the diagnosis of a mild concussion, a close friend or family member should monitor the individual closely in the event any new problems crop up or if current symptoms get worse.
If a car accident caused a mild traumatic brain injury, there is a good chance the crash victim also has whiplash and muscle sprains or strains. These can result in ailments such as headaches, neck or back pain, general soreness, and tingling of the hands or fingers. A patient suffering from these symptoms may benefit from treatment by a chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, or a combination of all three to relieve pain or prevent further injury.
Moderate and Severe Injuries
For moderate and severe TBIs, the patient will more than likely need to work closely with a neurologist in Brooklyn, NY. Immediately after the accident, the patient will need emergency care. Initial traumatic brain injury treatment will often include preventing the injury from getting worse and ensuring the patient has adequate blood pressure, oxygen, and blood supply.
Emergency surgery may be necessary. In fact, around 50% of victims with severe brain injuries need surgery to repair contusions, remove blood clots, remove pieces of skull from the brain, stop the bleeding, repair skull fractures, or release pressure.
It is also common for a patient to receive certain medications to limit further damage to the brain. A car accident doctor may give medication to induce a coma if the blood vessels are not able to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Because seizures are a common occurrence for those with moderate and severe brain injuries during the first week, the medical team may give the patient anti-seizure medications. The use of this medication usually stops after the first week, unless the patient is suffering from seizures. Another common medication given initially is a diuretic, as this assists in reducing brain pressure.
Once out of the emergency or operating room, the patient typically spends time in the Intensive Care Unit. Hematomas may enlarge over the coming days, and changes in body temperature, oxygenation, and blood glucose can cause further damage to the brain tissues. During this time, the medical team monitors the patient via various devices to catch these changes right away.
Long-Term Treatment and Therapies
Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse the initial damage done to the brain. Most patients will require some type of therapy in the initial stages, and an estimated 25 to 50% of victims will have disabilities that require long-term rehabilitation.
Once the medical team stabilizes the patient, a car accident doctor will recommend a variety of rehabilitation therapies to help the patient relearn basic skills and function in society. Therapy starts while the patient is still in the hospital, and it often continues for months or years after the patient goes home or transfers to a residential treatment facility.
Along with working with a neurologist in Brooklyn, NY, the patient will often come into contact with a wide variety of rehab professionals during a day or week:
- Physical therapist – assists with developing motor function and basic movements such as walking and balance
- Social worker – helps the patient access outpatient services and communicates with family members and care providers
- Occupational therapist – helps the patient relearn and improve basic everyday skills such as dressing and eating
- Speech therapist – assists with speech and language skills and sets the patient up with assistive communication devices, if necessary
- Vocational counselor – assists the patient in returning to the workforce and dealing with work-related challenges
- TBI nurse – educates the patient and family on the different aspects of traumatic brain injuries and coordinates care
- Neuropsychologist – teaches the patient coping strategies, helps to manage unwanted behaviors and assists with psychological and emotional well-being
A patient may choose to join a TBI support group as part of the traumatic brain injury treatment plan. This group contains other brain injury victims who can share their experiences and provide advice to individuals who are dealing with the effects.
Choosing a Traumatic Brain Injury Team
A traumatic brain injury has serious consequences. Someone who is a victim of a motor vehicle crash and suffered a TBI should find a team that not only understands what the individual is going through but can also recommend the most effective care and support for the patient’s injury.
Metro Healthcare Partners has a variety of healthcare professionals that provide comprehensive neurology services. Whether it is a mild, moderate or severe injury, a car accident doctor and neurologist in Brooklyn, NY can help minimize the damage and manage symptoms, either on a short-term or long-term basis. Contact Metro Healthcare Partners for a consultation today. We accept most insurance plans, including no-fault and workers’ compensation. Same-day appointments may be available.