Few forms of harm are more debilitating as brain injuries. The brain is the body’s central command, and so any harm to the brain has the potential to affect virtually every part of one’s life-from physical movements and mental ability to thoughts, memory, and emotions. One of the most unique consequences for some victims is a complete change in personality after an injury that affects their brain. Victims sometimes appear physically identical to before the injury, but those around them report that the in ways that only one familiar with the victim would know, that the individual is a “different person.” These personality changes highlight the reality that brain injuries are often completely unpredictable.
The unpredictability can be frustrating for families who usually want clear and straight answers from medical providers about what to expect for their loved one. However, there is another benefit to still unknown aspects of these injuries: many patients far exceed expectations. Stories abound of individuals who beat the odds again and again-recovering far more than experts would have thought possible. Each Chicago brain injury lawyer at our firm remains amazed by the struggles that some our clients have undergone only to come out happy, strong, and resilient.
DVIDS News reported last week on a heartwarming story along the same lines. They profiled a marine who was near killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2005. His mother at first received a call telling her that she would need to “escort his body home.” It was only later that she learned that he had survived. Yet she was warned not to expect much, because the injuries that her son sustained were as severe as they come. His entire body was covered in burns, countless pieces of shrapnel riddled his frame, and he had lost the entire front third of his brain.
The man’s mother explained that even upon his arrival home, doctors did not expect him to make it too long. She explained, “The doctors couldn’t explain how he was still alive because the whole side of his brain was gone. They couldn’t give me his prognosis because no one had ever survived injuries like that.” Not only has he survived, but thanks to aggressive rehabilitation programs, he is slowly beginning to thrive.
By the time the marine’s squadron had returned from deployment and visited him, the man shocked them by laughing at old jokes and remembering their stories. Now, years later, the marine has continued to progress. Within the first few years he was capable of feeding himself, moving his legs, whispering responses, and bathing himself.
Of course, this is not to minimize the severe challenges he still faced as a result of the brain injury. He was unable to walk, had minimal strength, and difficulty speaking. To help tackle those issues his mother began researching different therapy options. She eventually was able to arrange for him to have Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to drastically increase the oxygen levels available to damaged tissue. The man’s family explains that after the therapy his improvement levels took off. Within a few weeks his speech and thought patterns drastically improved, his strength improved, and, eventually, he was able to walk completely unassisted.
Our Illinois brain injury attorneys remained committed to helping all victims of brain injuries reach their full potential. Part of that process involves guaranteeing that the individuals will have access to the best therapy and resources possible. It is only then that they can be given their best shot at recovering and getting their lives back to normal.
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