Neglected Veterans In The Bayou State To Receive Proper Brain Injury Treatment

Thousands of military veterans in Louisiana and two dozen other states have received inadequate treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries, the government now admits. So, the Veterans Administration will offer new TBI exams to about 25,000 veterans nationwide; some victims could be eligible for retroactive benefits dating back to 2007.

The investigation began at a VA medical center in Minnesota where, according to records obtained after a Freedom of Information Act request, only one out of the twenty-one professional TBI examiners qualified under the VA’s own standards. These reports prompted an investigation, which was spearheaded by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN); the investigation revealed that many veterans were initially misdiagnosed and others received insufficient medical attention.

David McLenachen, the VA’s Deputy Undersecretary for Disability Assistance, said that “taking a look” at these disputed cases is “the only fair and right thing to do.”

TBI Statistics and Causes

Each year, about 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, and eighty percent of them are rushed to the emergency room either immediately or very soon thereafter. Initial symptoms, like a partial or total loss of consciousness and nausea and/or vomiting, quickly give way to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), chronic headaches, moodswings or personality changes, and trouble sleeping. All these symptoms make it difficult or impossible to function at home, work, or school.

TBIs are permanent, because dead brain cells do not typically regenerate. However, the symptoms are treatable with medical intervention and extensive physical therapy. So, in many cases, victims can live fairly normal lives, if their injuries are properly diagnosed and aggressively treated.

Some common TBI causes include:

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: In most medium and high-speed wrecks, vehicle occupants’ heads smash against the steering wheel, dashboard, door, or other fixed objects. Moreover, cell phones and other loose items become high-speed projectiles in these incidents.
  • Falls: Children under 12 and adults over 65 are among the most at-risk age groups for fall-induced TBIs, because small children often run into doors or tables and some older adults are physically frail.
  • Explosive Blasts: The VA says that a TBI is the “signature injury” of the Iraq War, both because of the sudden loud noise and the force of being knocked to the ground.

Damages in a TBI case normally include compensation for both economic losses, like physical therapy expenses, and noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.

Serious brain injuries have lifelong consequences. For a free consultation with an aggressive personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. An attorney can arrange ongoing medical care for victims, even if they have no money and no insurance.