Brain Injury Treatments & Legal Information
Persons with severe brain injuries after receiving emergency room medical treatment are oftentimes admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit. Treatment while in an ICU are to help achieve medical stability, medical management and to prevent medical crisis. Below are some of the treatments and there specific purposes.
- Medications may be given to help decrease brain swelling, treat infections, and prevent seizures.
- Patients with high intracranial pressure are given medications to induce a coma and prevent further swelling.
- Patients in ICU may receive preventive rehabilitation such as body positioning, splinting and range of motion therapy.
- Sometimes it is necessary to perform surgery to remove blood clots and pressure.
Possible medical equipment used in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- Ventilator or respirator – a machine which helps a person breathe. To use a respirator, a tube is placed through a person’s mouth to the windpipe. This procedure is called intubation.
- Trach or Tracheotomy – a tube placed in a person’s windpipe to help them breathe. May be used if a person has a lot of secretions in the lungs that need to be suctioned or if they’ve been on a ventilator for a long time.
- Intravenous lines (IVs) – tubes which are placed in a person’s veins for delivery of medications and fluids to the body.
- Foley Catheter – used to collect and document a person’s urine output. The Foley Catheter is used because a person who has sustained a severe brain injury is unable to control bladder functions.
- Nasogastric Tube (NG Tube) – used to deliver medication and nutrients directly to a person’s stomach. The NG tube is used when a patient is unable to swallow because of their brain injury.
- EKG machine – monitors a person’s heart rate.
- Intracranial Pressure Monitor (ICP) – a device that indicates the amount of pressure in the brain. A small hole in the skull is made and the device is inserted in or on top of the brain. Intracranial pressure is used to determine a person’s condition and help provide information used for treatment.
- Ventricular Drain (Ventriculostomy) – a small tube placed in the brain that drains cerebral spinal fluid into a drainage bag. It is used to measure pressure changes as well as drain fluid from the brain.
- Pulse Oximeter – a small clamp-like device placed on a person’s finger, toe or earlobe that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
- Anti-Embolism Stockings (TED Hose) – worn on the person’s legs to prevent blood clots from forming and to help circulation of blood and fluids in the legs.
- Sequential Compression Stockings (Kendalls) – worn on a person’s legs to prevent blood pooling. They are plastic leg wraps operated by a machine to inflate and deflate around a person’s legs.