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What Personal Injury Victims Can Learn From The Military's Brain Injury Debacle

The lasting legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be the amazing number of head injuries suffered by our troops.

Yesterday, NPR released a report detailing ways that we are failing those injured.  One key component of the report was failed testing and diagnoses for the injuries. 

The United States has spent $42 million trying to adminster test to members of the military to diagnose whether they have suffered any kind of traumatic brain injury.  In theory, the program should work great.  Every member is tested before deployment and then upon return from depoloyment,  That way, the original tests can serve as a baseline to determine where the military member was before entering the conflict.

But it hasn’t worked out well.  From the report:

We have failed. We have failed soldiers,” says retired Col. Mary Lopez, who used to run the Army’s testing program. She still works with soldiers in Germany. “It is incredibly frustrating because I can see firsthand the soldiers that we’ve missed, the soldiers that have not been treated, not been identified, misdiagnosed. And then they struggle.

The story about how the military got where it is, why they chose the test they did, etc are all interesting, but not what I want to write about today.

Instead, I think personal injury victims can learn from Col. Lopez’s summation — brain injuries are difficult to diagnose and when undiagnosed, the injured don’t get the help they need and then have problems.

That is a lesson that is important for those injured in almost every type of injury claim.  Brain injuries from car wrecks or other accidents are hard to diagnose.  Most of the time, doctors aren’t looking for brain injuries, and doctors usually don’t know their patients well enough to tell if there is a difference in the patient after an incident.

And if the doctors don’t make that diagnose, then the injured don’t get help.

That’s why I always tell my clients to be on the lookout for head injuries.  Often, you or a loved one will be the only ones who notice that you have memory issues or a changed personality.  So it’s important for you to look out for the symptoms.

It’s also important to get the help you need.  When the head injury is severe, there are a number of different forms of cognitive therapies that you can undergo, but the problem has to be diagnosed first.

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