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Traumatic Brain Injury Victims Are Breathing New Life After Life Support is Turned Off

There is perhaps nothing more heartbreaking than watching a loved one languish from a severe brain injury that wasn’t his or her fault. This type of trauma to the brain usually results in years of bedridden in a vegetative state, only to be followed by a slow, languishing death once surviving family members make the agonizing decision to turn off all life support.

One decision that’s not difficult to make, however, is this. If you or a member of your family suffers a severe personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need the best personal injury lawyer you can find.

According to Victims Advocate, Broward County, seasoned personal injury attorneys must be adept at assessing your case on a comprehensive basis. This ensures that the party responsible for your injuries will be held accountable in a court of law. A good lawyer understands the multifaceted nature of personal injury cases, be they physical or emotional, and the devastating financial impact they can have on the rest of your life. This is why you require full compensation that will cover all aspects of your new life going forward.   

With that in mind, victims who’ve suffered severe traumatic brain injury are said to be getting a new lease on life once their life support has been turned off. In a recent report, The UPI “Health News” states that a number of patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries who clinically died after life support was shut down might have recovered if afforded more time. Or so claims a new study on the subject conducted at Boston’s Mass General Brigham.  

Published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, the study goes on to say that a more cautious approach should be considered when making early decisions on life support withdrawal in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury or injury. Severe traumatic brain injury, such as that acquired in a bad vehicular collision, is said to be one of the major causes of hospitalizations not only in the U.S. but around the world. It is said to impact more than 5 million people every year, said a Mass General neurologist.

A Difficult Decision

An assistant professor at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Chestertown, Mass, attests that many people who have suffered a sudden traumatic brain injury can expect to recover some form of consciousness over the course of several hours or a single day. Yet others remain in a vegetative state inside an intensive care unit (ICU) where they are fully reliant on one or more types of life support, such as a breathing tube.

The professor also stated that predicting who will recover after suffering a severe brain injury and to what degree is at best challenging, at worst, impossible. Still, families and loved ones are all too often asked to make serious, difficult decisions about withdrawing or continuing expensive life support processes like mechanical breathing within three full days of receiving the injury.  

The decision to end life support is said to be based mostly on whether the clinical team in charge of the patient believes a full or nearly full recovery is possible. As of this date, it is also unknown whether some injured people who died due to life support being terminated might have not only survived but realized a full recovery had life support been allowed to continue for a while longer.  

No Medical Guidelines Regarding Life Support

Says the UPI, presently, there are no precise algorithms or medical guidelines that can determine which patients suffering from traumatic brain injury are likely to realize a full recovery and which are not. Experts agree that the most common reason behind a family choosing to discontinue life support is medical physicians delivering information that paints a poor to devastating neurological prognosis. In other words, if not for artificial life support, the patient would already be pronounced dead.    

However, the study points to specific incidences in which researchers discovered that some patients who had their life support turned off could have survived and even recovered a degree of independence after brain surgery. This means that postponing decisions regarding the withdrawal of life support might be helpful for a select group of patients.

In the End

The study is said to have paired patients who were continuing with life-support measures with those with similar traumatic brain injury model scores but who had their life-support turned off. An estimated six-month outcome for a large portion of the life support-withdrawn group was either death or recovery to the extent that some independence was achieved. Of those who survived in the life support not-withdrawn group, almost half were said to have recovered at least a small degree of independence.  

Considering that some of the patients who perished in the life-support withdrawn group did not die due to lack of brain function, families of loved ones who have suffered major traumatic brain injury should think twice before pulling the plug within the first 72 hours of the accident.

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