Traumatic Brain Injury with Coma

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Every year, tens of thousands of traumatic brain injuries result in the patient going into coma.
Coma is defined as a period in which a patient has continuously closed eyes and cannot be woken. This condition differs from a vegetative state in that patients who are in a vegetative state have open eyes and can respond to movement and sound to some degree. Coma may last anywhere from a few days to several years, and in some cases, the rest of the patient’s life.

The vast majority of comas end with the patient regaining consciousness. How long this may take is impossible to predict. In fact, virtually everything about coma and its prognosis is uncertain.

The Glasgow Coma Scale

Physicians use the Glasgow Coma Scale in the early stages of TBI to measure verbal response, motor response, and eye opening response. Patients who score between 3 and 8 on this scale are considered comatose. While predicting the outcome of a coma is impossible to do with any accuracy, physicians can turn to statistics to help generate a likely prognosis for TBI coma patients.

When the Glasgow Coma Scale is used within the first 24 hours after injury:

• Of patients who score in the 3 to 4 range, 87 percent will die from their injury or remain in a coma or vegetative state. 7 percent can expect to have a good recovery with moderate disability

• Of patients who score in the 5 to 7 range, 53 percent will die from their injury or remain in a coma or vegetative state. 34 percent can expect to have a good recovery with moderate disability

• Of patients who score in the 8 to 10 range, 27 percent will die from their injury or remain in a coma or vegetative state. 68 percent can expect to have a good recovery with moderate disability

• Of patients who score in the 11 to 15 range, 7 percent will die from their injury or remain in a coma or vegetative state. 87 percent can expect to have a good recovery with moderate disability

More Information from the Author:

TBI that results in coma can have devastating long-term emotional and economic effects on victims, families, and spouses. If you or a loved one has suffered TBI, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced TBI lawyer. If you live in the New York City area, please call or e-mail our traumatic brain injury attorney today.

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