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Brain injuries: lifestyles and recovery

The average individual in Pennsylvania experiences an illness at some point in their lifetime, such as food poisoning, ear infections and the flu. However, when someone suffers a brain injury, they go through an entirely different type of recovery process.

Traumatic brain injuries (also known as TBIs) are the most common cause of death and disability among young Americans, and thousands require extended hospital treatment for brain injuries each year. Unfortunately, these catastrophic incidents are all different, as the types of disabilties and lifestyle changes can vary depending on the type of injury.

Differences between delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses

Pennsylvania residents like you rely on medical professionals to get the help you need in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, mistakes can still happen even among trained medical professionals. At Phillips, Phillips & Smith-Delach, P.C., we work to explain medical misdiagnoses, delayed diagnoses, and illustrate the difference between the two.

A medical misdiagnosis occurs when you've been given an incorrect diagnosis in regard to the symptoms you're showing. The potential repercussions to this can be catastrophic, as you could be given medications or even surgical treatment to correct a problem that you don't actually have. This can eventually cause problems in and of itself. Additionally, the real root of your symptoms remains untreated and undiscovered, which can lead to it worsening over time.

Comprehending cognition

Traumatic brain injuries have become a hot button topic both in Pittsburgh and throughout the country in recent years. Yet a good deal of misunderstanding may still exist about TBIs. Most may think that only those injuries which result in severe brain damage can cause lifelong effects. However, mild TBIs (concussions) can also leave one struggling with cognitive issues. What is most frightening about this fact is that concussions are quite prevalent in the U.S. In fact, research information shared by Truven Health estimates that as many as a quarter of the American population has sustained at least one.

To fully comprehend exactly what sort of cognitive issues concussions may cause, one must first understand what cognition is. Simply put, it is the process of thinking. While this may seem simple at face value, a closer reveals how much the way one thinks effects his or her daily life. Thinking includes:

  •          Concentrating long enough to process information
  •          Understanding, reasoning and problem solving
  •          Retaining information both in the short- and long-term
  •          Communicating clearly
  •          Controlling impulses

Risks related to use of forceps during deliveries

As many Pittsburgh mothers are well aware, childbirth does not always go as expected. In this case doctors may opt to use tools like forceps, which can actually result in a number of very serious medical complications. Knowing about these risks is of the utmost importance to ensure the health of your baby remains top-priority during a delivery.

According to WebMD, doctors often use tools to assist during difficult deliveries. These typically include forceps, or in some cases medical staff may use a device known as a vacuum extractor. While these are thought to be safe, they can sometimes cause significant injury to unborn babies, with occasionally tragic consequences.

The dangers of doctors sticking too closely to protocols

You go to see a doctor in Pittsburgh expecting for him or her to be able to determine exactly what is wrong with you. Yet we here at Phillips, Phillips, and Smith-Delach, LLC can attest to the fact that physicians are far from infallible. Often, medical errors originate during the diagnostic process. This begs the question of what sort of information to doctors rely on when diagnosing you?

Typically, you will convey your symptoms to a doctor, and then he or she will often follow standard sets of protocols to confirm what they believe may be wrong with you based off your input. These protocols are referred to as “heuristics,” and doctors often allow them to dictate how to progress with your care. However, there can be a risk in doctors relying solely on protocols when treating you.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury

From motor vehicle accidents to mishaps on the playground, traumatic brain injuries happen for all sorts of reasons. Sadly, some people suffer a TBI due to medical professional negligence in Pittsburgh, and in other cities around Pennsylvania. At Phillips, Phillips, & Smith-Delach, we know how devastating this can be for patients as well as their loved ones and we believe that victims of brain injuries resulting from medical malpractice deserve justice.

Sadly, there are many different ways in which patients may sustain a TBI at the hands of a medical professional. For example, a patient's brain may be injured because of a surgical error, a medical professiona's failure to monitor a patient, birth injuries and various other reasons. Unfortunately, when the supply of oxygen is cut off, the brain may suffer permanent damage. To make matters worse, some victims and their families may not even realize that a brain injury took place until months or even years after the incident occurred.

Why are older people more prone to slipping and falling?

As you age, you may find your body starts to break down in certain areas. Vision, hearing and general strength and mobility all tend to diminish over time, and these and other factors put you more at risk of taking a serious fall as you grow older.

Additionally, when you do fall as an older person, you may be more likely to experience significant injuries, in part because your bones tend to weaken over time. Learning to identify risk factors for falling can you help you stay on your feet. As you grow older, you may become more susceptible to falling for these reasons:

The risks big babies may pose to mothers

Throughout their pregnancies, expecting parents closely monitor the growth of their babies, using that as a sign of healthy progress. It is possible, however, for a developing baby to grow to a point where his or her size could cause complications during delivery. Big babies are termed to be large for their gestational age (the actual clinical name applied to this condition is “fetal macrosomia”). While whether or not a baby is determined to be LGA depends on his or her exact gestational age, the Mayo clinic defines the fetal macrosomia threshold as being 4000 grams, or 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

There are already inherent risks that come with delivering an average size baby vaginally, whose weight is estimated by Stanford Children’s Health to be seven pounds. One can only imagine how much greater the stress may be on both mother and baby if the baby is close to two pounds larger. Mothers delivering LGA babies have shown to be at a greater risk of suffering complications such as:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Genital tract lacerations
  • Post-delivery bleeding

How common is cancer misdiagnosis?

Medical providers are educated and knowledgeable, but even the brightest of doctors can sometimes make mistakes. You may find yourself in the same boat as many people in Pennsylvania who have been recently diagnosed with cancer and wonder if there could be a mistake. Or you may belong to the group of people who believe they do have cancer but have been told by their practitioner that they do not. Unfortunately, the reality is that cancer misdiagnosis is much more common than you may think.

 

What you should know about chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a very serious condition that has been known to occur after repeated brain injuries. While it is mostly associate with professional athletes, many people in Pittsburgh can be at risk of developing this condition depending on the circumstances. Accordingly, it’s important to understand how it develops, as well as the associated symptoms.

As stated by CNN, although CTE is brought about by repeated concussions, the most damaging aspect of the disorder is the buildup of a protein called tau. This is due to the brain being repeatedly jostled within the skull, which can lead to further degeneration over time. This is true even if the person afflicted with CTE experiences no more concussive episodes. Additionally, there is no cure for CTE and no real method of diagnosis. The condition can only be identified after death during the subsequent autopsy.

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