New research out of Finland may bring hope to older people in New Jersey suffering from traumatic brain injuries. According to a study from the Department of Neurosurgery at the Helsinki University Hospital, some older patients may respond well to surgical treatment of brain injuries that result from falls or other accidents.
Up to now, the general wisdom has been to avoid using surgery to treat older patients because the recovery is so difficult. Even young patients who sustain an acute subdural hematoma as the result of a fall have high rates of mortality and morbidity. However, with lifespans increasing, more fall accidents are occurring. Researchers found that patients at or over the age of 75 who were independent prior to the operation, who were conscious when brought in and who were not on anticoagulants for heart disease recovered well and had the same expected lifespan as others their same age. However, among patients who met none of these criteria, none were alive one year later.
Researchers caution that the patients studied had no other injuries to the brain and that a definite conclusion cannot be drawn from the small sample size. However, the study definitely suggests that surgical treatment should not be automatically dismissed simply on the basis of a patient’s age.
Some of these falls that cause a traumatic brain injury may be the fault of another party. For example, if an elderly person slips and falls on a wet floor in a store, the store may be liable for the injury. In another case, a person might be using a ladder correctly in the home, but the ladder may be manufactured poorly and cause a fall. A fall might also occur on unsafe private property. In these circumstances, it might be advisable to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the responsible party that would seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages.