Recent study shows the high cost of traumatic brain injury

It is easy to imagine that suffering an injury to the brain can be physically damaging. The ongoing costs of treating and living with the results of a traumatic brain injury may be less easy to grasp. A recent study of Ontario brain injury victims has unveiled the enormous financial burden of brain injuries in this province.

Compiled by researchers and doctors at St. Michael's hospital, the study deals with the nearly 140,000 Ontario men, women and children who visited an emergency department after suffering an accidental traumatic brain injury, or TBI, in 2009. The combined cost for health care and loss of productivity was an incredible $945 million over the lifetime of the patients. Of that amount, $653 million, or 69 percent, was due to productivity loss, with the remaining $292 million spent on medical treatment.

The study also looked at the demographics of TBI in Ontario. Statistically, very young children and senior citizens were most likely to suffer a TBI. By gender, men were more likely to get hurt than women in every age bracket except for the 65-plus grouping. Men also incurred greater expenses due to higher average wages, and an increased likelihood of suffering a fatal injury than women.

Falls were the number one cause of TBI, followed by impact by or against an object. Sports and bicycle-related injuries accounted for 12 percent of the total. Surprisingly, while motor vehicle accidents factored into 10 percent of TBI visits to an ER, they made up 17 percent of the total dollar amount. The writers of the study believe this is due to the tendency toward severe injuries in a crash, and the lower average age of car accident victims. Younger victims live longer on average, and therefore generate higher costs than older patients. 

However an accidental traumatic brain injury occurs, the results may still be the same: high medical bills, and difficulty returning to work. Adding financial suffering to severe physical injury can create a terrible burden on an individual and his or her family. Any person who suffers a TBI should think about contacting a personal injury lawyer to help pursue suitable compensation.

Source: medicalxpress.com, "TBI in emergency departments a substantial economic burden", March 29, 2017

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