First responders use a new procedure to help TBI victims

Falls and motor vehicle accidents are responsible for most traumatic brain injuries in our country. First responders only have a few minutes in which to treat a TBI victim.

An innovative public health initiative revealed in May 2019 helps save brain cells that can quickly die and cause the patient a lifetime of cognitive and physical impairment.

The results of brain injuries

After a brain injury, the brain cells or neurons rewire themselves to some extent, forging new paths among damaged cells. Everything the victim learned throughout his or her life is still present, but as the result of injury, access to certain parts of the brain may be permanently blocked. This is where rehabilitation comes in. Specialists work with the patient to relearn ordinary skills, such as how to get dressed, how to eat and how to walk. With persistence and dedication, a victim can make progress. However, some level of impairment remains throughout life.

The new emergency procedure

The University of Arizona joined with the Arizona Department of Health Services along with fire departments and EMS agencies across the state to test a new program they called EPIC, the “Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care.” The new treatment addresses three critical issues when someone experiences a brain injury: hyperventilation, hypoxia and hypotension. First responders only have a short window of time in which to save vulnerable brain cells before they irreversibly shut down. With the new treatment, the emergency team employs the use of a breathing bag with a light that blinks, indicating the precise moment to treat the victim with high-flow oxygen—and save those brain cells. The procedure is so effective that one researcher opined it could change TBI emergency treatment everywhere in the world within the next five years.

Help on the financial front

Anyone who experiences TBI as the victim of a vehicle crash must focus on recovery efforts, but rehabilitation can be extremely expensive. This is where an advocate experienced with establishing fault for the crash, and full and fair insurance compensation for the victim, can help to ease concerns on the financial front.

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