36th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law, State Bar of Texas, 2020
As far back as 1700 B.C., Egyptian writings contain mention of the brain. The Egyptians referred to it as the “marrow of the skull.” The early Egyptian
writings would indicate that surgeons of the day knew something of the functional anatomy of the brain and its coverings. By 400 B.C., Hippocrates was aware of the relationship between the site of the brain injury and the
site of the motor symptoms.1 Throughout the years, the injured brain has been studied by medical scholars, and many useful diagnostic tools were developed. The EEG did not become a useful clinical tool until the 1930s, the
brain scan until the 1950s, and the CT scan until the 1970s. Today, other diagnostic modalities such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), MRA (magnetic resonance angiography), SPECT scans, PET scans, Diffusion-Tensor MR imaging, and brain mapping are some of the tools now available. Recently, public awareness of concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury has increased dramatically. Issues and recognition within the National Football League together with parental concerns about childhood sports have spotlighted the risks and long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries.
How many among us have been confronted with a traumatic head injury to an individual that induces coma, personality changes, seizures, loss of memory or critical thinking? Will the victim lose the ability for executive functioning? Will there be personality changes, such as loss of inhibition and inappropriate behavior? Will the victim lose the ability to function independently in society? Will the victim be able to recover at all, or remain in a vegetative state? We must ponder what exciting diagnostic tools are now available and what the future will bring.
These are just some of the myriad of problems that we frequently encounter in brain injury cases. This paper will certainly not be a panacea or solution to these perplexing issues; it is intended instead, to give some useful information about traumatic brain injury and the how-to manage these cases to better serve the client.