how proper tbi treatment is often so close yet so far for many

Over the last few years, the popular media has done an outstanding job of raising awareness about the incidence of traumatic brain injuries in athletic endeavors like football, hockey, boxing and even snowboarding. However, it’s important to understand that traumatic brain injuries don’t just occur on fields and in rinks and rings, but rather can befall people performing such mundane activities as shopping in a grocery store, driving to work or undergoing a surgical procedure.

Don’t believe it?

The person shopping in the grocery store can fall and hit his head on the concrete floor, the person driving to work can strike her head against the steering column in a motor vehicle accident and the person undergoing a surgical procedure can be deprived of oxygen due to an anesthesia error.

The simple fact is that statistics show that roughly 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur here in the United States every year, and at least 90,000 of these are serious enough to result in some type of long-term disability.

The good news is that the medical community has made remarkable progress in developing treatment regimens designed to help traumatic brain injury victims put the pieces of their lives back together.

One such treatment that medical professionals are recommending is called cognitive rehabilitation. Here, patients are subjected to a rigorous combination of exercises that utilize speech, occupational/physical therapy and other tested techniques in a bid to hasten recovery in the damaged portion of the brain or spur another portion of the brain to assume command.

Unfortunately, more and more people are discovering that their health insurance plans will either cover only a limited amount of cognitive rehabilitation or deny coverage altogether. Indeed, a 2011 report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine reached the unfortunate conclusion that “many patients (with traumatic brain injuries) may not receive prescribed treatments due to limitations in payer plans.”

What makes this so discouraging — and alarming — is that most experts agree that the best window for making a neurological recovery is within the first 18 to 24 months of the initial injury. Given this short timeframe, traumatic brain injury victims simply don’t have time to fight with their insurance companies.

The good news, of course, is that those people who suffered traumatic brain injuries because of the negligent actions of another — including medical professionals — may be able to secure the compensation they need and the justice they deserve in a court of law. An experienced attorney can take the time to explain their options and protect their rights.

ABC 23, “Brain injury patients fight for therapy time and money,” Jeremy Olson, August 19, 2013

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