The Difficulties Of Diagnosis And Treatment Of Brain Injuries In Minors
You probably are already aware of the dangers of a brain injury when you are in an accident. From immediate brain damage, to a slow but deadly bleed, to long term cognitive, emotional and behavioral difficulties, traumatic brain injuries or TBIs can be catastrophic and lifelong.
But while a lot of discussion is given to TBI in adults, they aren’t the only ones involved in accidents. What about children? Children also are involved in accidents, and they suffer TBI injuries as well. However, when children suffer a TBI, the medical issues can be even more complex than they are with adult brain injuries.
One major problem when children suffer brain injuries is there is no baseline. In other words, with an adult, we know what that adult’s “normal” baseline behavior is, and thus, friends, family and doctors, can identify the differences between the victim’s behavior pre and post accident.
But children’s brains are still forming; their attitudes, affect, behavior, and emotions can change, even when they haven’t been injured.
That means that many children’s brain injuries may be ignored, or misdiagnosed by friends or family. Children may also have natural slow cognitive development, and that can be confused with a TBI, or else, a Defendant may blame problems on the natural development of the child’s brain—not on the injury,
Lack of Recognition
Unlike adults, who may easily recognize that they “aren’t themselves,” children may not have that same insight. They may not understand that they are feeling more depressed than they normally are, or that they are having a more difficult time remembering things. And when they do think something is off, they may be much less likely than an adult to tell anyone.
Family members are there to help, but they can often be part of the problem; they may not want to admit that their child is having a cognitive or emotional problem. And many who do see the problem, may not have the financial means (such as the insurance coverage) to get the child the proper medical attention.
Later Developing Illnesses
There is a difference between a symptom of a TBI, and the symptom of a mental disorder or disease. In other words, someone can be depressed because they suffer from clinical depression, but they can also be depressed as a result of an injury to the brain. But often in children, these two causes merge: science now knows that there is a higher incidence of the development and emergency of mental disorders in adults who previously suffered some form of TBI as children.
Often, the development of that illness doesn’t happen until years after the accident. That can make it difficult to ascertain the level of long term injury that a TBI causes to a minor in the short term.
If your child has been in an accident and suffered any kind of injury, whether to the brain or otherwise, call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.