You may have been tempted to believe that the worst was over the day that you were released from Centerpoint Medical Center. You suffered a serious head injury in your car accident, and while it will take some time to recover, your injury has almost completely healed. Most people get better with each passing day.
Many patients undergo a successful recovery after being discharged from the hospital, but some are unprepared for the complications their injuries can cause. This is because they can suffer a secondary injury in the weeks or months after the accident that causes serious—even life-altering—changes.
Secondary Brain Damage Can Occur at Any Time After the Accident
Your primary injury could be a skull fracture, laceration, bruising, blood clot, or other trauma that occurred at the time of the crash. A secondary brain damage is any complication that arises as a result of the initial injury. This could be a physical, emotional, or cognitive problem that you suffer while healing, such as:
- Physical effects – This could be any number of bodily symptoms that have been affected by the brain, including loss of mobility and coordination in the limbs, nausea and vomiting, headaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, changes in vision, and smell or taste changes.
- Brain swelling – Swelling (edema) is a common brain injury complication, and can cause pressure to build inside the skull. If the pressure is not released, the patient may suffer further brain damage or early death.
- Epilepsy – Patients may suffer seizures following the accident, or experience chronic dizziness and loss of coordination.
- Infections – A patient must be monitored carefully during the healing process for signs of intracranial infection and be treated for any fever immediately.
- Bodily system changes – A patient’s lungs and heart may not work as efficiently after a brain injury, causing low sodium and low or high blood pressure for the rest of the patient’s life.
- Blood problems – Patients may experience anemia, too much or too little carbon dioxide levels in the body, and abnormal blood coagulation.
If you suffer from any of these problems, you should seek medical attention immediately. You may need ongoing MRI or CT scans for the rest of your life to make sure the damage to your brain is not getting worse. As well as anti-seizure medications to control epilepsy symptoms. If you have trouble paying for these medical costs, you may wish to consider filing charges against the driver who struck you—in many cases, they may be held liable for your hospital bills.
To read more about coping with a head injury after a car accident, click the link on this page to read through our FREE e-book, Brain Injury Survivor's Guide.