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Possible shift in treatment of patients with brain injury

It does not take a medical degree to know of the potential consequences of a blow to the head. For many in Massachusetts, a brain injury will likely result in a lengthy, slow recovery. In some cases, victims of a brain injury are never able to fully recover. However, a nurse from another state claims that she has found a way to potentially fast track the recovery process from brain injuries -- having the patient move early on in his or her treatment.

The vast majority of surgical patients are encouraged to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible. Doctors say that there are many benefits, including speeding healing, reducing inflammation, swelling and the chances of developing a blood clot and increasing circulation. However, the treatment of patients with brain injuries has been the exact opposite because many medical professionals feel that allowing the brain to rest is the most appropriate course of action.

One nurse decided to conduct a study involving 600 patients to help medical professionals learn more about the effects of early movement in patients with such injuries.  Over half of the patients were encouraged to get up and move as early as possible in their treatment. She claims that her study demonstrates the importance of movement. Those who moved early on had fewer pressure sores and infections, and spent less time on a ventilator, in the ICU and the hospital. A professional of biomedical engineering even hypothesizes that early movement could ultimately encourage the brain in its rewiring process.

Unfortunately, this study does not address all of the concerns of victims of a brain injury and their family members in Massachusetts. While movement can help some, these patients will likely require extensive medical treatment, resulting in financial hardship created by medical bills and lost wages. As a result, many people choose the pursue claims for damages against those whose negligence may have caused such an injury. A successfully presented case could result in the entry of a monetary judgment that may allow victims and family members to focus on recovery other than their financial situation.

Source: NPR, "People With Brain Injuries Heal Faster If They Get Up And Get Moving", Gretchen Cuda Kroen, July 6, 2015

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