Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury is a common result of a car crash. Even victims with a mild form of TBI such as concussion may experience lifelong health issues.
However, innovations in testing and treatment are helping those who suffer TBI to combat the effects and reduce the need for ongoing care.
Along with falls, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that of the 2 million Americans who suffer TBI each year, traffic crashes are responsible for 286,000 such cases. In fact, because brain injuries are not always evident at the time of a crash, that number may actually be considerably higher.
More accurate testing
New imaging equipment helps doctors diagnose brain damage with greater accuracy. Physicians can spot abnormalities in the brain through Susceptibility Weighted Imaging, technology that uses high-resolution imaging to focus on tears and small hemorrhages.
A new emergency procedure
Out west, the University of Arizona has teamed with the Arizona Department of Health Services and fire departments and EMS agencies throughout the state to test an initiative called EPIC, the Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care project. The group spent years testing what is a very simple but effective procedure. Previously, first responders were hyperventilating victims with TBI. However, it was discovered that this causes carbon dioxide levels to fall, which, in turn, constricts the blood vessels in the brain, resulting in blood and oxygen deprivation. First responders are now using breathing bags equipped with lights that signal the perfect time to use high-flow oxygen on the victim. The goal is to help prevent brain cells from dying, and EPIC is so successful that researchers feel it will change emergency TBI treatment worldwide within the next few years.
Many medical facilities and emergency units do not yet have the newest innovations in TBI testing and treating. However, if you sustain a brain injury as a car crash victim, your personal injury attorney can assist in your care. In addition to negotiating full and fair insurance compensation on your behalf, your advocate can access a large network of medical experts.