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Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2019 | personal injury | 0 comments

The mere mention of a traumatic brain injury is often enough to make the family and friends of those in Louisville who may have suffered them cringe. Such injuries can drastically alter one’s quality of life, leaving them to face everything from simple cognitive deficits to the extreme loss of both physical and mental capacity. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1.7 million TBIs occur in the U.S. every year. The loves ones of those that suffer them, of course, want to know what their long-term prognosis will be. Some might believe that to be an impossible question to answer, yet clinicians are in fact often able to provide a fairly accurate estimate.

This is due to a clinical observation test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that this test monitors a patient’s responses in the following areas:

  • Eye movement
  • Verbal skills
  • Motor skills

Clinicians observe how a TBI victim responds to external stimuli (of course, the hope is that they will respond as close to the standard baseline as possible). Point totals are then assigned for each of the aforementioned categories, and then added together to come up with a final score.

Family and friends should hope for a higher score (there are 15 total points possible), as this indicates a mild brain injury (which still can produce lingering effects, but these can often be managed). A score of eight to below is a sign that one may have suffered a severe brain injury. Such an injury can often result in loss of function that can leave one dependent on extensive hands-on care for the rest of their lives.

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