Brain Injuries in Children: The Importance of Swift Diagnosis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a leading cause of death and disability among children and adolescents. Left untreated, these serious injuries can have lasting effects on the development of a child’s brain. For this reason, accurate and timely diagnosis is vital for the institution of adequate medical care. The medical malpractice lawyers of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. advocate for the rights of Washington DC and Maryland children affected by TBIs.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries occur when an external force or trauma causes damage to the brain. This may result from a variety of incidents, including a violent jolt or a sharp item penetrating the head. When this occurs, the brain may be pierced or bruised from hitting against the skull. The severity of a TBI can vary greatly. Mild symptoms include temporary dysfunctions like dizziness, headache, nausea or a brief loss of consciousness. More severe symptoms can result in long-term complications, like prolonged loss of consciousness, memory loss, seizures, permanent loss of cognitive functions, and coma.
TBIs in Children
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, more than 60,000 children between the ages of 0-19 experience brain injuries each year, resulting from falls, automobile crashes, assaults and sports injuries. TBIs can be especially dangerous to the developing brain of an adolescent, particularly with children who are too young to adequately communicate their symptoms. According to the CDC, some common symptoms of TBI within children include:
- Unexplained changes in eating or nursing habits
- Persistent crying and the inability to be consoled
- Unusual or increased irritability
- Severe changes in attention span
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- A sad or depressed mood
- Sudden loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
Proper diagnosis is extremely important for the proper care of adolescent TBIs. Left untreated, these conditions can have devastating and long-term impacts. Injured children may experience deficits in their abilities to process information and use appropriate judgment. They may also lack the ability to develop socially acceptable behaviors and suffer from permanent physical impairments.
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a common problem with childhood TBIs. Under some circumstances, symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADHD, hyperactivity or some type of behavioral disorder. Another common misdiagnosis occurs when physicians fail to adequately test for TBIs following an injury-causing event, which can cause the brain injury to significantly worsen.
If your child’s traumatic brain injury was misdiagnosed, secure representation from the attorneys of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. Contact our office at 410-234-1000 or click here for a free consultation.