How are severe head injuries medically treated?

Service members across the U.S. in active combat often suffer from head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries can be life-threatening, and often require immediate care. Such care may include certain types of medications or surgical procedures.

When it comes to medications, there are certain ones that may help those with a TBI. The individual may be given a diuretic to lower the pressure on the individual’s brain.

The individual may also be given anti-seizure drugs, particularly within the first week following the TBI, where the risk of suffering a seizure is a serious possibility, particularly if the individual suffers further injury to his or her brain. In very serious situations, the individual may be given a coma-inducing drug. This can be particularly helpful it the individual is in a situation in which his or her blood vessels cannot properly deliver oxygen to the individual’s brain, due to increased pressure. When a person is in a coma, his or her brain does not need as much oxygen to function.

Sometimes, a TBI requires emergency surgery. For example, clotted blood, either outside or inside the individual’s brain, may need to be removed. In addition, if there is pressure inside the individual’s skull, a window may need to be opened in it. Finally, if the individual suffered a skull fracture, an operation may need to be necessary to repair it.

When a person suffers a TBI, their health is not always regained through emergency medications and surgery. They may need extensive rehabilitation to function again in their everyday lives. They may need occupational therapy, physical therapy, recreational therapy and speech therapy. They may also need to see a nueropsychologist, a TBI nurse specialist and other professionals as well.

In the end, recovering from a TBI can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. In some cases, a person who suffers a TBI will never go back to “normal,” and will require long-term medical care. In these situations, it may help for the individual to seek Social Security disability benefits, so that they can support themselves while getting the care they need.