If asked to define “catastrophic injury,” you would likely describe in injury that drastically impacts one’s quality of life going forward. A traumatic brain injury certainly meets this criteria, often leaving those who suffer them completely dependent on the around-the-clock care for the remainder of their lives. 

A question we here at Theisen & Associates, LLC often field from those whose loved ones suffered TBIs is whether they might be able to know what their family member’s or friend’s long-term prognosis may be (as the answer to this question often goes a long way in determining what action they might take). You may share the same question, yet fear that knowing this is impossible. Yet that may not be the case. 

The Glasgow Coma Scale

Medical professionals rely on a clinical observation test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale to help determine the extent of a person’s TBI in the immediate aftermath of their injuries. Understanding this might also offer an indication as to what degree of recovery you and others might expect. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three elements clinicians specifically focus on when applying this test include: 

  • Eye movement 
  • Motor skills 
  • Verbal responses 

Your loved one receives a point value based on their responses in each of these areas, and the cumulative total of these scores offers a glimpse into the severity of their injury. 

Planning for the future

A GCS score above 13 indicates a mild TBI; one below eight indicates a severe injury. While it may be reasonable to assume that a severe brain injury offers less hope of a complete recovery (and, by extension, potentially greater recuperative costs), even a mild TBI can require extensive rehabilitation (which may require much of both you and your loved ones). 

You can find more information on dealing with catastrophic injuries throughout our site.