Significance of Traumatic Brain Injuries in Service Members
Recently, Iran launched a retaliatory rocket attack on one of our military bases in Iraq. In an effort to downplay the effectiveness of the strike, initial reports from President Trump himself indicated that there were no injuries. We quickly learned that 34 people were evaluated for traumatic brain injuries, with many being removed from Iraq for additional testing and treatment. When asked about it, President Trump indicated that headaches are not serious injuries. Over the last several days, the number of personnel treated for TBIs in that same attack has increased to 109. In additional follow-ups, the President has indicated that he will not change his mind about the seriousness of our soldiers’ brain injuries.
While I doubt that he has done any deep study on brain injuries, I know that many people believe our president when he speaks. I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about brain injuries and how serious they can be, despite politically convenient statements to the contrary. Many of the studies I have read indicate that when trauma results in a change in mentation or unconsciousness for up to 30 minutes, many of the injured persons will regain cognitive functioning without significant deficits after a recovery period. However, a significant minority, sometimes called the miserable minority, will have cognitive problems lasting for many years into the future. Studies indicate that between 15-30 percent of traumatic brain injury victims that have only suffered what is generally known as a mild injury will have these long-lasting problems. It is a disservice to our injured service members and others with continuing problems from a brain injury to indicate that “headaches” are not serious.
I have had several clients with long-lasting traumatic brain injuries over the years from vehicle wrecks, falls, and construction accidents. In speaking with one client, he indicated that one of the hardest things about a brain injury is that the injured person “looks” fine, but he is not fine. As a result, many people assume that the injured person can and should function like the rest of us.
My client told me something that will haunt me. He said, if he were missing an arm or a leg, people would understand why he struggles, but with a brain injury, a part of the mind is amputated, but no one thinks it is. Dizziness, headaches, inability to multitask, sleep difficulties, change in temperament, lack of focus and drive literally can make a TBI victim a totally different person. It changes the victim and devastates their families. One scientific article I read indicates that up to 85 percent of marriages fail when one party has suffered a traumatic brain injury with lasting effects. We have seen these effects first-hand while helping brain injury victims.
These injuries can be very serious. If history is any guide, up to 35 of the 109 individuals suffering initial brain injury symptoms will have long term cognitive problems from the Iranian attack. Please do not let uninformed, politically expedient opinions affect how you view those with long term effects from a traumatic brain injury.
If you have suffered an injury to your brain due to the fault of another, the McCraw Law Group may be able to help. Our lawyers and staff know how devastating these injuries can be and look forward to helping you and your family.