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Why family doctors often overlook the signs of brain injuries

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Personal Injury |

A brain injury can be expensive and cause debilitating consequences for an injured person. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) range from mild injuries that may result in a variety of symptoms to severe brain injuries that leave people completely and permanently incapacitated.

Those who develop a severe TBI are often easier to diagnose than those with mild TBIs or concussions. Otherwise competent medical professionals sometimes adhere to outdated diagnostic practices or completely overlook certain details that result in someone going without a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for a brain injury. There are a few key reasons why diagnostic errors related to TBIs are so common.

The diagnostic process isn’t thorough enough

There are many different approaches to evaluating patients for traumatic brain injuries, and some of the most commonly utilized systems are decades old. They don’t reflect the most current research and what medical professionals now understand about brain injuries. Doctors often decide on a case-by-case basis how much they will believe someone’s self-reported symptoms and whether additional diagnostic efforts are necessary.

Thankfully, that could soon change. Researchers have found that there are certain questions that could facilitate faster and more accurate diagnostic processes when evaluating someone for signs of a mild brain injury. From reviewing the likely mechanism of injury, such as blunt force trauma or a violent car crash, to reviewing clinical signs and acute symptoms, there are steps a physician can take to more accurately diagnose someone with a concussion or mild TBI. Using questions and an analysis of a patient’s condition can help physicians determine when imaging tests may be necessary.

In the meantime, many people may have to speak up assertively to obtain the diagnosis that they require for a recent brain injury. Simply seeing a family physician may not be sufficient to protect someone. A significant delay in diagnosis might mean that someone’s symptoms worsen and that they have a harder time getting compensation.