Severe Brain Injury Critical Phase: How to Know When it Ends?


Severe Brain Injury Critical Phase

Recognizing Signs of Coma Emergence

When the severe brain injury critical phase is ending, there will be signs that the injured person is emerging from the coma. Evidence of wakefulness and increasing consciousness will often happen first. Movement does not always mean that the person is emerging from their coma.  It is not “Hollywood Like” where in the movies they go from a deep coma with no response what so ever to opening their eyes and begin speaking like nothing ever happened.  Most who emerge from a coma do so in stages and they may be very subtle stages.

The Awakening

The recovery of consciousness (awakening) is a gradual and is not just a matter of “waking up”. The TBI survivor begins to open his or her eyes and obey simple commands on an inconsistent basis. This is a good sign that the severe brain injury critical phase is over. There may be continuing confusion, fatigue, agitation and memory loss even after the patient is completely responsive. The brain injured person will generally have no memory of time spent in the ICU or coma.

The Evaluation

Once the severe brain injury critical phase is over and  have emerged from the coma starts the evaluation stage.  There may or may not be very evident deficits caused by the brain injury.  Some may not have any long term memory or some may lose their short term memory.  Once emerged from a coma the person may not be able to walk.  Their brain may have forgotten some of the most simple tasks that a non-brain injured person takes for granted everyday.

The Beginning of Recovery

The recovery process begins from the point of coma emergence. Be aware that this may be a very slow process.  If you are the caregiver you will face a lot of frustrations from your loved one and sometimes it may be very hard to deal with.  Just remember that you are the most important person in their life and a necessity for recovery.
NEXT: Neuro-Imaging

by Attorney Gordon Johnson