When a person is seriously injured in an accident, life changes dramatically not just for the victim, but for his or her entire family. For victims whose families depend on their income, an accident can lead to worries about how they will survive if they are unable to work. When the victim is a child, parents may have to quit their jobs to take on the specialized care that seriously injured accident victims need.
These problems can be magnified for traumatic brain injury sufferers. Brain injuries can range from mild to severe, and it's sometimes hard to accurately place the injury on that spectrum. Memory problems, for example, may not be immediately apparent. It's also nearly impossible to tell how quickly a TBI patient will recover, and to what extent. These great unknowns can quickly add to existing financial worries over affording the medical care itself.
A Gilroy, California, teen and his family know the struggles associated with brain injuries all too well. The boy, who turned 17 this week, suffered a TBI when he fell off his skateboard last summer. Half a year later, the family is still learning to cope. Now in a wheelchair, the teen is trying his hardest to overcome severe memory loss and regain the ability to walk. Meanwhile, his parents have become completely focused on caring for him and helping him to recover.
After the teen came out of his initial coma, he began making strides and recalling memories from before the accident. But two months later, he developed fluid on his brain that required more surgery -- causing an undoing of most of the progress he'd made. His mother recalls that taking him home from the hospital was "like bringing home a grown baby" because he wasn't able to care for himself. The fact that her son didn't recognize her at that point was even tougher.
The family remains optimistic as the boy continues to improve. But their financial concerns also continue, as is the case for so many accident victims. In cases where an accident is caused by someone else's negligence, brain injury patients and their families can often gain compensation through a personal injury suit. While it may not speed up the healing of the injury, this compensation can ease the financial stress that victims and their families suffer.
Source: Mercury News, "Gilroy teen's traumatic brain injury affects entire family," Mark Emmons, Jan. 14, 2013
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