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Passengers can Sustain an Intracerebral Hemorrhage in a Car Accident

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2016 | Injuries |

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of driving. While some car accidents are unavoidable, others are due to negligent driving. Whether the car accident is minor or multiple cars are totaled, any accident can result in serious medical injuries. These can lead to massive hospital bills or even a loss of life.

When patients are looking for assistance with medical bills, there might be a legal route for financial recourse. Part of exploring this path involves meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney. And part of exploring this path is understanding the breadth of injuries that may be sustained in car accidents. Without this knowledge, it can be difficult to hold others accountable for the harm such injuries cause. One common and very serious injury is intracerebral hemorrhage.

An intracerebral hemorrhage is a serious, life-threatening injury that merits immediate medical attention. When a car comes to a sudden stop, such as a stop in a car accident, the body is restrained by a seatbelt; however, the head is not. The head will continue to move forward or to the side and strike the steering wheel, dashboard, or a window. When the head strikes these objects, the brain will collide with the rock-hard skull. This kind of trauma will severely injure the brain and tear the blood vessels that keep it oxygenated. This is called an intracerebral hemorrhage because the brain is bleeding. This is an emergency.

The symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage will vary depending on the location and severity of the bleed; however, a few symptoms are almost always present. The patient will be in severe pain and complain of a headache. Patients may even be bleeding from their eyes, nose, or mouth. Patients will complain of pain when exposed to bright lights or loud noises. Patients will usually be confused and complain of memory loss. Some patients might be unconscious depending on the degree of the trauma. Any of these symptoms is enough to warrant immediate medical attention.

The diagnosis of an intracerebral hemorrhage will always start with a physical exam. If the physician notices any of these symptoms on exam, the physician will order an emergent CT scan. A CT scan is a continuous X-Ray that will image the brain. If there is a bleed in the brain, the CT scan will find it. While some physicians will suspect an intracerebral hemorrhage on a physical exam, a CT scan is required to make a definitive diagnosis. If the CT scan is clean but the doctor is still concerned for an intracerebral hemorrhage, an MRI will be ordered.

The treatment of an intracerebral hemorrhage is emergent surgery. On the way to the OR, medications will be administered to slow the bleeding; however, surgery is required to prevent life-threatening complications. A neurosurgeon will cut open the skull to relieve the building pressure from the buildup of blood in the skull cavity. The blood will be evacuated surgically and the bleed will be repaired if the bleeding is still happening. Once the pressure in the brain has dropped, the skull will be replaced. Time will heal the brain; however, some neurological symptoms might be permanent.