Understanding your Symptoms
Post Traumatic Amnesia
Post Traumatic Amnesia (“PTA”) is regarded as the single most important diagnostic tool in assessing the presence and severity of a head injury.
Often in subtle cases, CT and MRI scans rarely identify any injury because the damage is too microscopic to be seen. Subtle injuries are often missed by GPs who do not have the time to spend with patients to properly assess any period of PTA. Many cases of subtle injury are not identified by using crude tools like the Glasgow Coma Scale.
A period of PTA is characterised by interruption of clear and continuous memory following a traumatic event but with islands of recollection interspersed throughout the same period. What we tend to see when dealing with our clients are problems fully recounting events after an accident but, at the same time, quite specific vivid snap shots of memory which are present over the same period.
Obtaining an early assessment of PTA is hugely important when diagnosing a head injury. This is best achieved by spending the necessary time in a face to face setting obtaining a detailed account of the memories which are present immediately following the accident. The length of PTA is used by clinicians to categorise head injuries between minor, moderate, and severe. The ability to obtain accurate PTA history is a key requirement of any legal adviser or medical expert when advising in a case involving subtle brain injury.
No two cases involving head injuries are the same. Whilst there are symptoms which are commonly associated with head injury claims, every individual is affected differently. In cases involving a subtle head injury we frequently encounter clients who are unable to explain the way they feel or the way in which their ability to deal with day to day life and work has been impaired. We have often heard clients explain that they feel as though they are living through a fog, frustrated by their difficulties in explaining how their ability to cope has diminished following an accident.
Symptoms can include:
- Memory difficulties, confusion and disorientation
- Balance problems
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Change in mood
- Uncontrollable anger
- Disinhibited speech
- Changes in emotions or sleep patterns
- Alcohol intolerance
- Impaired concentration
- Difficulty multi-tasking
Loss of consciousness can accompany a head injury however it is not essential. The concept of axonal shearing is widely accepted in the medical community and has been a feature of a number of legal cases of the courts in this country. This type of damage can occur when microscopic neural transmitters in the brain are damaged, often as a consequence of a sharp acceleration/deceleration type injury.
It is also important to realise that individuals who have suffered a head injury are often left with some kind of psychological injury. It is important in such cases to deal with the psychological components of the injury before taking certain steps to measure the impact of any head injury. The reason for this is that the psychological overlay can impact upon the test results measuring the effects of the head injury.
This is just one of the reasons why rehabilitation is so important in head injury cases.
Our Brain Injury specialists have experience of representing clients showing a broad spectrum of symptoms. We can work with you and your family to help you understand the important subtleties individual to your circumstances.
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