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The high costs of traumatic brain injuries

Many people in New Mexico suffer from traumatic brain injuries in accidents each year. Brain injuries bring much higher hospitalization and rehabilitation costs than do other types of injuries. People who suffer serious brain injuries may require a life time of care due to the associated problems they have.

Traumatic brain injuries can result in the inability of the victims to care for themselves as well as cognitive problems, seizures, severe personality changes and other associated problems. Because of the high treatment costs, hospitals have shortened stays for brain-injured people. Time spent in rehabilitation has also lessened, meaning the brain-injured person may be released before receiving adequate treatment.

Studies looking at the rehospitalization rates within one to three years following the injuries have shown that many brain-injured people are rehospitalized. Some rehospitalizations are considered to be nonelective ones for treatment of infections, nervous system disorders, seizures and mental disorders. Others, such as reconstructive surgeries or bone and joint surgeries are considered to be general health maintenance, and as such, to be elective rehospitalizations. The high rates of rehospitalization demonstrate a need to account for them when determining the overall expected costs associated with traumatic brain injuries.

Blunt force trauma to the head in an accident can cause a traumatic brain injury. Sometimes these injuries result in permanent brain damage. People may have difficulty with speaking, standing, walking or caring for themselves following such an injury. They may thus require round-the-clock care in order to ensure their needs are met. A person who suffers from a traumatic brain injury as a result of another's negligence may be able to recover damages to compensate for the associated economic and noneconomic losses by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Rehospitalization Rates: 20% for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries", December 10, 2014

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