When a doctor tells someone he or she has suffered a mild brain injury, it might get better or it might not. And the outcome for the patient in terms of function may be anything but mild.
I am in the middle of a trial for a fine young man that is typical of this tragedy. He scores well on neuropsychological tests. CAT scans and other neuro-imagining shows no defect. But all who know him attest to dramatic personality change, difficulty with attention and memory and disabling fatigue. The defense argues as it always does in these cases that this decent young man is a fake.
I will tell you the result of the trial in the next column. For now all I can do is share my experience as counsel to literally hundreds of brain injured people. It is hell for these people. If you can imagine looking in the mirror and seeing the same you. If you can imagine waking up in the morning and thinking perhaps today you have recovered. And if you can imagine trying to do something productive and discovering that there is someone else’s brain inside your body, you might have some idea what my clients tell me it is like.
If this is not tragic enough, try to imagine that you must find your way through the maize of our insurance system. Lawyers, accountants, claims adjusters, forms, assessments. It is overwhelming. And when insurance companies cut you off and call you a fake, with your life in a shambles around your feet, the tragedy compounds.
If you or someone you care about might be suffering from a brain injury, see a qualified health care professional. Be aware that there is much more to diagnosis than the results of neuropsychological tests and neuro-imaging.