As discussed in previous posts, a Dallas, Texas, brain injury can drastically alter a life that was once normal. When Texans sustain brain injuries, there is no guarantee they will be able to return to living the sort of lives they had before their injuries. Texans are certainly familiar with the sort of complications that follow a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and how this type of injury can affect a person's life.
Complications can occur immediately or take hours or days to reveal themselves after an accident. The complications can be minor or severe. A person may exhibit a variety of symptoms. The worst are entering a coma and remaining unconscious after sustaining an injury. How soon a patient will emerge from a coma is hard even for physicians to know, but in many cases, a person who falls into a coma then enters a vegetative state because of severe damage to the brain. Vegetative states can be deceiving because the person may open his or her eyes and seem to respond to stimuli, even though he or she is not conscious.
A person in a vegetative state may remain in that condition or eventually improve over time to enter a minimally conscious state. In that state, there is evidence of awareness among many patients, and it is usually a sign that the patient's condition is improving. Another complication of TBI is locked-in syndrome. In such cases, patients are aware of their surroundings although they cannot communicate effectively with others. They can only respond through blinking or eye movement.
If there is no activity in the brain stem or the brain, the complication is called brain death. The body of a person who is brain dead can only breathe through artificial means. The removal of breathing apparatus usually brings death within hours or days.
Source: Mayoclinic.org, "Complications," accessed on Oct. 29, 2014