When someone is brought to a hospital for a suspected or confirmed traumatic brain injury (TBI), initial treatments will begin by medical staff specially trained and certified to help brain injury patients. If a trauma surgeon is available, then they will be designated as the acting leader of the medical professionals and decide how to take immediate action. When the patient is unconscious, as is often the case with TBIs, resuscitation should take priority to other initial treatments.
The TBI patient will need to be hooked up to advanced medical monitoring equipment to ensure vital signs stay within a safe zone. It is up to the trauma team to take appropriate actions depending on the vital sign reports.
It is not unusual for more surgeons to be brought into the operating room for initial treatments. The trauma surgeon still leads the team and often makes decisions regarding treatments, but up to three or more surgeons may be present as well.
During TBI initial treatments, additional surgeons on-hand may include:
There will likely be a trauma nurse within the operating room or emergency room while doctors and surgeons assess and perform treatments on the TBI patient. The trauma nurse is tasked with keeping the patient stabilized, helping with resuscitation efforts as needed, and offering any other assistance demanded by the surgeons. When there is a lull in the treatment or a lapse in immediate needs, the trauma nurse may take a moment to discuss progress with other hospital staff that should know and family members present in the waiting room.
A successful stabilization of the TBI patient will allow them to be transferred to an intensive care unit for further monitoring. Medical staff members in the intensive care unit – also sometimes called a specialized trauma care unit – are tasked to study the patient’s vital signs regularly, check for any indication of an infection, and report any noteworthy changes in patient’s condition to a lead physician. More staff members will be permitted to enter the TBI patient’s room to perform regular yet necessary duties, such as checking equipment functions. Many brain injury patients experience difficulty breathing due to the side effects of their condition. A specialized respiration therapist may be called upon to ensure the patient is not struggling to breathe and will also study the results of blood-gas tests.
Some hospitals may keep a trauma psychologist on-staff to talk with family members during the initial treatments of a TBI patient. Difficult decisions may need to be made about the TBI patient’s immediate care, such as the decision to try to resuscitate or not. The trauma psychologist can provide morale support and general counseling to family members that may be understandable torn by these choices.
If the TBI patient is cognitive and not expected to have an extended stay in the hospital, a trauma social worker may be contacted during initial treatments. The social worker can talk to family members about how to care for the TBI patient in the coming days. While some guidance may be offered for permanent care, this sort of information is usually reserved since it is difficult to predict what type of long-term care a TBI patient will need at this stage.
Have you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of a third party? You can call 888.662.2013 to connect with our Las Vegas brain injury attorneys from Shook & Stone. Throughout our 85+ years of combined legal experience, we have been able to collect $500+ million for our clients in a variety of case types. Start with a free case review to learn more about your legal options.