Head Injury

Head injury is a very frequent, common and scary event. The vast majority of head injuries turn out to be fairly minor problems, however in some cases it does turn out to be a life-threatening event. It is difficult for the parent, school coach, or loved one to know how serious the head injury is, it is often wise to get the individual checked by a medical professional after a head injury.

As Emergency Medicine Specialists, we look at head injury based on several things:

  • How much energy was involved in the injury? How far did the patient fall, or how fast were they going on their hover board?
  • What was the patient’s immediate response following the injury. Were they dazed or did they get knocked out, not responding or speaking.
  • The very young child and the elderly are at greater risk for significant injury that might not faze a young adult. However, a teenager might be inclined to be doing a more dramatic and physical event or activity that might lead to greater force with the injury. (Think football for example.)
  • Does the patient have any pre-existing medical problems such as a tendency for easy bleeding, or is the patient on a medicine that “thins the blood,” such as Plavix, Coumadin, or Xarelto, to name just a few.
  • Was alcohol consumed prior to the event? This not only leads to “thinning of the blood,” but it also diminishes protective reflexes.

After considering all of these factors, the most important thing is how does the patient look currently? Are they completely back to normal, acting their normal self, with no significant complaints of any kind? Or is the patient confused, slow to answer questions, less alert than normal? Are they having trouble moving any part of their body, or are they complaining of significant headache or neck pain?

The Emergency Medicine Specialist will look at these various factors and may proceed with an emergent head scan, commonly known as a CT scan. These scans are reserved for potentially more serious events. In other cases the patient may be observed in the facility to see if they are improving, or if further issues are developing. In some cases the physician may discharge the patient to home with close follow-up instructions to return should there be worsening of any kind.

So what are you to do after witnessing a head injury? If the injury was a low force event, there was no loss of consciousness, and the patient is acting completely normal, most likely further evaluation is not needed. However, if the patient has a predisposition to bleeding, or the patient is not acting their normal self, then medical evaluation is clearly recommended.

We are always available to immediately evaluate and see a patient with a head injury. When there is a question about the severity of injury please come and visit us for a thorough evaluation.

Code 3 ER and Urgent Care Concussion