Detailing the Glasgow Coma Scale

The families and friends of those who suffer traumatic brain injuries in San Bernardino will often immediately assume the worst when considering their loved one's prognosis. When one learns that another has suffered a TBI, their default expectation may be that person will be in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of their lives (and thus dependent on around-the-clock care). While the aftereffects of a TBI can linger (indeed, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 5.3 million Americans are currently dealing with a TBI-related disability), many injury victims can make a full to partial recovery. 

How is one to know the likelihood that a TBI victim will indeed recover? Clinicians can make such an estimation in the immediate aftermath of an injury using the Glasgow Coma Scale. The is a clinical observation test that is used to determine the extent of a TBI. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Glasgow Coma Scale requires observations be made of the following three elements: 

  • Motor skills
  • Speech
  • Eye-opening

A person is assigned a score based on their responses in each category, and those individual scores are then combined to come up with a final overall score. A score of less than eight indicates a severe TBI. Any degree of recovery from such an injury is likely to be limited. However, scores between 9-12 and 13-15 indicate moderate or mild TBI's, respectively. Those who suffer these types of injuries may have a good chance of avoiding any extensive brain damage. 

Mild and moderate TBI's can still cause lingering effects, however. Understanding what type of TBI one has suffered may be an important factor in the decision to seek legal action against those whose negligence might have contributed to their injury. 

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