Initial treatment for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may just be emergency treatment aimed at saving someone’s life. If a worker falls off a ladder on the job and strikes their head, for instance, they could experience bleeding in or around the brain. They may then need emergency surgery to relieve that pressure and stop the bleeding.
But this is only the beginning. A TBI can be a life-changing injury. What types of treatment options are there? It all depends on the specific injury and the part of the brain that was injured, but some options include:
- The use of medications, such as coma-inducing drugs, anti-seizure drugs or diuretics.
- Extensive rest in a controlled environment; people with TBIs often experience sensitivity to light and sound.
- Surgery, which can be aimed at repairing damage (such as a skull fracture) or at removing the cause of the brain injury (such as blood clots).
- Physical and mental rehabilitation.
In this last category, there are many different forms. Again, it all depends on the injury. Someone may not be able to walk and may need physical therapy to regain the skill. Someone else may need speech therapy, even though they have no mobility issues. Some workers have lasting changes that make it hard for them to do their jobs, so they need vocational training that will allow them to switch careers.
One key thing to remember is that brain injuries do not always entirely heal. Treatment options may be to help people overcome these changes, rather than healing the brain. Either way, it’s very important for injured workers to understand all of their legal options.