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Rehab for brain trauma often denied

Traumatic brain injuries are a growing concern in the United States, with 1.7 million new cases seen each year. 90,000 of these cases are so serious that they cause long-term disability. Kentucky residents likely know that brain injuries can be caused by car accidents, workplace accidents or sports injuries. Trauma from roadside bombs has been so common in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts that brain trauma has been called the "signature injury" of those wars.

Patients with brain injuries can lose memory, cognitive skills and motor skills, so getting the proper treatment for traumatic brain injuries is essential for individuals to make a full recovery. Doctors say that most successful recovery happens within the first 18 to 24 months after the injury, and cognitive rehabilitation is often recommended. It is aimed at getting parts of the brain to heal or helping other parts of the brain take on the tasks that damaged portions can no longer do. It combines physical therapy with occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Since cognitive therapy involves long term costs, insurance companies often refuse to cover rehabilitation, saying there is little data on the success of these methods and how much time they need to be administered. While some wealthy patients recover very well with the best medical care available, less fortunate individuals with brain trauma often find that they cannot afford to continue the recommended therapies, a trend that amounts to "social Darwinism," according to a spokesman for the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota.

For people in Kentucky who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, personal injury attorneys may be able to help by investigating the causes of injuries in order to identify the responsible parties, or, in some cases, defective product, such as a helmet. In some cases, the attorneys may be able to secure fair compensation for suffering, medical bills and the proper long-term therapy.

Source: ABC, "Brain injury patients fight for therapy time and money", Jeremy Olson, August 19, 2013

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