How to Treat a Head Injury
When a person sustains a head injury - through a fall, car crash, bicycle fall, sports-related trauma or other event, you should treat it very seriously.
Sometimes it's just a little bump or bruise on the head, but if the injury is severe enough there could be serious damage to the brain.
A person could experience contusions (bruising of the brain tissue), a hematoma (blood clot), intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding from the vessels within the brain or its covering), or edema (swelling). These can result in a wide-range of symptoms that can sometimes go unnoticed.
Steps to take to treat a head injury
The following 4 steps are very important when treating a head injury:
- Determine whether the type of head injury is open or closed. A closed injury is when the head has experienced trauma, but it is internal and not outwardly apparent. An open injury is when the skull has actually broken open. If you are dealing with an open injury call 911 immediately.
This does not mean that a closed injury does not also merit immediate medical attention, only that further inquiry is needed to determine the seriousness of a closed injury. If there is any doubt about the seriousness of a head injury, call 911.
If the person is bleeding or starts to bleed, hold a cloth firmly to the wound that is open and stay that way even if the bleeding has become excessive. If a fracture has occurred, you should not press on that body part, you should dress or cover the wound, if possible. If an object is attached or protruding from a person's head, do not remove it.
- Talk to the person and check for irregular breathing. Because a person with a traumatic brain injury can lose consciousness, obtain information regarding how the accident happened, their identity, emergency contacts, allergies, medical problems and medications taken, and the last time they ate or drank while you are waiting for medical assistance to arrive.
One of the most common signs of a serious head injury is irregular breathing. Also, while the person is talking notice if there is any confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, personality change, or other difficulty in relating the events to you. These are all signs of a serious traumatic brain injury. When medical help arrives, relate any abnormalities the injured person experienced.
- Keep the person as still as possible. Conduct a rapid body survey and locate other significant injuries. A serious traumatic brain injury may likely have associated spinal injuries so you want to take precautions when dealing with the person.
If they are unconscious treat them as if they have a severe back injury. Stabilize the head in line with the back if you can, and keep them still to help them recover from their traumatic brain injury. Remember to never shake people with head injuries. A common mistake is to jerk or jiggle someone who may be injured.
- Prevent choking. If the person is vomiting or bleeding from the nose or mouth, there is a risk of choking. Try to prevent them from choking on these fluids. When doing this move the head, neck and body as one. Never tilt the head or move the neck alone.
Using these tips will help keep the injured person from experiencing further injury. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious head injury and the injury was the fault of someone elses negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of work, and emotional and mental stress.
You should talk to a head injury lawyer as soon as possible as there is a limit on the amount of time you have to file a case in the state of California.