How Often are TBIs Misdiagnosed?

  • Dec 23 2015
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

tbi_brainA traumatic brain injury or TBI is one of the most dangerous types of injuries possible.  Every year, thousands of victims have their lives changed forever when they suffer a TBI.  However, new studies show an even more disturbing fact:  that TBI is misdiagnosed at a surprisingly high rate, leading to the conclusion that many people who suffer a brain injury may not receive the medical care that they need to fully recover.

TBI:  Difficult to Diagnose

One of the biggest problems facing health care professionals in terms of diagnosis of TBI is that the condition can offer so many different symptoms that it can be very difficult to spot.  This means that brain injuries, particularly mild TBIs such as concussions, are often overlooked when a patient is injured.

The frequent misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis of TBIs has led experts to label the problem a “silent epidemic.”  In fact, the president of the BIAA or Brain Injury Association of America has stated that TBIs are “the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, underfunded health problem our nation faces.”

Doctors also admit that diagnosing TBIs can be difficult.  This is particularly true when symptoms show up weeks after an injury.  It may be hard for both the patient and the healthcare provider to link those symptoms with the accident.

The ultimate result:  perhaps as many at 60 percent of TBIs are misdiagnosed or undetected.  Any of the following symptoms should be considered as possibly TBI related:

  • Balance problems.  Those having balance issues often blame the inner ear, but in some cases a TBI may be to blame.
  • Neurological disorders.  Nerve issues can result from a TBI, although they are often blamed on other types of injuries.
  • ADHD.  While not all ADD or ADHD diagnoses result from brain injury, sudden appearance of symptoms should always be examined as possibly TBI-related.
  • Depression.  In some cases, depression can be caused by brain injuries.
  • Stroke.  A stroke, TIA or other brain seizure could be the result of TBI.

If you have suffered an accident which may have included a TBI, it is very important that you receive a proper diagnosis.  TBIs can have long-term effects on victims.  They may be unable to work after an accident or may suffer life-long disabilities as the result of a brain injury.

Daniel M. Gilleon, a personal injury attorney in San Diego, works with victims of TBI to help them recover compensation.  Call today for a free consultation about your case.

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