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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 225,000 people are hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Many more sustain severe concussions. All suspected TBIs require immediate medical attention. An accurate, prompt diagnosis is essential to ensure the maximum physical, mental, and emotional recovery. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a widely-accepted and objective brain injury assessment tool. Here, our Hartford County traumatic brain injury attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the Glasgow Coma Scale, explaining what it is, how it works, and how it could impact your claim. 

Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale 

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a clinical assessment tool designed to evaluate the level of consciousness in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Developed in 1974 by Graham Teasdale and Bryan J. Jennett—two neurosurgeons from the University of Glasgow, hence the name—the GCS 15-point scale provides a standardized method for the assessment of the responsiveness of a person who may have sustained a TBI. It may be used by first responders, emergency room personnel, doctors, and neurologists to determine the appropriate course of treatment. 

A Detailed Overview of the Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale evaluates three primary aspects of a patient’s neurological function: eye-opening response, verbal response, and motor response. Each component is assigned a score, which is then summed to determine the patient’s overall GCS score. The minimum score is “3”, which indicates no responsiveness. The maximum score is “15”, which indicates complete responsiveness. Here is a more detailed overview of the different sections:   

  • Eye-Opening Response (E): This is scored from 1 to 4, where 1 indicates no eye-opening, and 4 represents spontaneous eye-opening.
  • Verbal Response (V): This is scored from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating no verbal response and 5 meaning the patient is oriented and converses normally.
  • Motor Response (M): This is scored from 1 to 6, where 1 is no response and 6 means that the patient obeys commands for movement. 

The GCS is a Diagnostic Tool: Not a Direct Measure of Severity

The GCS is an objective diagnostic tool. It is used to provide some clear, consistent information about an injured victim’s responsiveness to direct stimuli. Determining a GCS score can be useful for figuring the next course of action. That being said, it is important to clarify that the GCS is not a direct measure of TBI severity. While the score can give some indication of the extent of the injury, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of the patient’s condition. Further, the GCS score can be affected by a variety of factors, including medication, alcohol, or other substances in the patient’s system, as well as age and pre-existing medical conditions. Beyond that, the GCS is just one component of a comprehensive TBI evaluation. Other factors, such as imaging studies and neurological exams, are also necessary to accurately diagnose and treat a traumatic brain injury. 

A Traumatic Brain Injury Can Be Life-Altering: Victims Need Full and Fair Compensation

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially life-altering injury that can result from a variety of accidents, including car crashes, falls, and sports injuries. Victims of TBIs often require extensive medical treatment and may experience long-term physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges. For this reason, it is essential that victims of TBIs receive full and fair compensation for their injuries. In Connecticut, the at-fault party—whether it is a negligent driver, a reckless trucking company, a careless property owner, or any other party—can be held liable for a TBI. Compensation that may be recovered through a TBI claim in Hartford County includes: 

  • Medical Expenses: Victims of TBIs often require extensive medical treatment, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. These costs can quickly become overwhelming, especially if the victim is unable to work.
  • Loss of income: A TBI can prevent a victim from working for an extended period, resulting in a loss of income and financial stability. You can pursue compensation for lost wages and diminished earning power. 
  • Pain and suffering & Emotional/Psychological Trauma: TBIs can cause significant pain and suffering as well as emotional and psychological trauma. Victims may require counseling or therapy to cope with these challenges.
  • Physical Limitations (Disability or Disfigurement): TBIs can cause physical limitations that may require modifications to a victim’s home or vehicle, such as wheelchair ramps or specialized equipment.

Contact Our Hartford County Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Today

At Tehrani Law Group, LLC, our Hartford County traumatic brain injury attorney fights tirelessly to help victims and families get justice. Contact us today to set up your free, no obligation initial legal consultation. We handle TBI and concussion injury claims throughout Hartford County, including in Hartford, New Britain, Bristol, Manchester, Enfield, Southington, Glastonbury, and Windsor.