Your Concussion May Go Undiagnosed

Your Concussion May Go UndiagnosedConcussions are far more prevalent than most people realize. Every year, millions of Americans sustain head injuries, and a significant portion of those will be diagnosed with a concussion. Despite being so common, concussions can be deceptively complicated. Unlike a cast for a broken bone or stitches for a laceration, there’s no definitive sign on an X-ray to diagnose a concussion. Doctors must perform a thorough medical history and a meticulous neurological exam to diagnose a concussion, but that doesn’t always happen. This can lead to a dangerous reality – undiagnosed concussions after a motor vehicle accident or other serious injury.

Why concussions can slip through the cracks

Several factors contribute to a missed concussion diagnosis:

  • Incomplete medical history: In busy ER environments, a doctor pressed for time might overlook crucial details in your medical history. This could include recent falls, blows to the head, or even seemingly unrelated symptoms like dizziness or nausea.
  • Incomplete neurological exam: A neurological exam assesses your balance, coordination, reflexes, and cognitive function. However, a rushed exam might miss subtle signs of a concussion, particularly if you are masking symptoms due to shock or adrenaline.
  • Misinterpreting symptoms: Concussion symptoms can mimic those of other conditions. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea are common complaints that could be mistakenly attributed to dehydration, stress, or even inner ear issues.

The effects of an undiagnosed concussion

The consequences of leaving a concussion undiagnosed can be severe. The brain needs rest and time to heal after a head injury. If you continue with strenuous activities or fail to receive proper treatment, you risk:

  • Prolonged symptoms: Concussion symptoms can linger for weeks or even months if not addressed correctly. This can significantly affect your daily life, hindering your ability to work, socialize, or even concentrate on simple tasks.
  • Increased risk of second concussion: An undiagnosed concussion makes you more vulnerable to future head injuries. These subsequent concussions can have progressively more debilitating consequences.
  • Post-concussion syndrome (PCS): This chronic condition can develop after a concussion, causing persistent headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and emotional difficulties.

What to do if you suspect a concussion

If you experience any signs of a concussion following a head injury, seeking immediate medical attention is essential. Here’s how you can be proactive in ensuring a proper diagnosis:

  • Be a vocal advocate: Don’t downplay your symptoms. Communicate openly and clearly about everything you’re experiencing, even if your symptoms seem minor.
  • Request a comprehensive head injury evaluation: This should encompass a detailed medical history and a thorough neurological exam. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and ensure all your concerns are addressed.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders: Recovery from a concussion often involves physical and cognitive rest, medication adherence, and potentially following a specific concussion protocol designed by your healthcare provider.

While you can’t control every situation, here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of an undiagnosed concussion:

  • Seek medical attention promptly: Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen. If you’ve experienced a head injury, err on the side of caution and get checked out by a medical professional, even if your symptoms seem mild.
  • Bring a support person: Having a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment can be helpful. They can take notes, ensure all your concerns are addressed, and advocate for you if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the signs and symptoms of concussions. The more informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to advocate for yourself and ensure a proper diagnosis.

It’s important to remember that concussions are serious injuries with the potential for long-term consequences. Don’t let your concussion become a silent injury due to a missed diagnosis. If you suspect negligence played a role in your undiagnosed concussion, consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you secure the justice and compensation you deserve.

Here at Wilt Injury Lawyers, our Kentucky medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers. If you believe that you or someone you love suffered a serious concussion due to a medical provider’s negligence, call us or fill out our contact form to set up your free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Kentucky, and maintain offices in Lexington and Louisville. Call today.