Any type of brain injury can be damaging, but penetrating injuries caused by gunshot wounds have an especially high mortality rate. While in the past a gunshot wound to the head was considered a lost cause, doctors are now encouraged to use aggressive treatments in order to at least attempt to save the victims’ life. However, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, gunshot wounds to the head continue to be extremely damaging, usually leading to death in 62% of adults and 32% of children.
Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common causes of illness and death, and most people who sustain that sort of injury suffer some type of lasting damage. As with any type of injury, the damage can vary depending on the severity of the wound. As is the case with penetrating brain injuries, (when an object penetrates the brain), the severity of damage usually depends on what brain structures the object penetrated.
A gunshot wound to the head is most certainly considered a penetrating brain injury because the bullet enters the brain. Bihemispheric injuries, where the penetrating object passes from one side of the brain to the other, are often more damaging and more likely to lead to death. In fact, bihemispheric injuries usually carry a significantly higher mortality rate than general traumatic brain injuries. When an object enters both sides of the brain, and adult victim faces an 82% mortality rate, while children victims face a 60% mortality rate.
Typically, bihemispheric gunshot wounds are self-inflicted. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 44% of suicide deaths by people under the age of 25 involved the use of a firearm. Other types of gunshot wounds, however, might only afflict one hemisphere of the brain. When only one side of the brain is penetrated, the victim will face a slightly higher chance of survival. However, the damage from such an injury can still be extremely severe and could cause life-long cognitive and physical impairment.
Luckily, modern medicine has come far in the past few decades, and while gunshot wounds to the head have slowly increased, so too have medical advancements. Once doctors can evaluate the issue, they may be able to determine the direction of the bullet’s path, which tissues of the brain were damaged, and thus make an educated plan of action. Sometimes a craniotomy may be performed, and large portions of the skull might be removed in order to remove debris, repair tissues, alleviate pressure, or to address other medical issues.
Even after surgeries or other medical treatment, traumatic brain injury gunshot victims could still suffer cognitive problems, loss of motor skills, or might end up in a coma. If someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the carelessness or mistake of another person, our firm may be able to help you seek justice and compensation.
To learn more about brain injuries caused by gunshot wounds, consider reading “Penetrating Bihemispheric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Collective Review of Gunshot Wounds to the Head,” written by Lauren Turco, David L.Cornell, Bradley and Phillips and published in Word Neurosurgery Volume 104.
Contact Scarlett Law Group today to speak with a San Francisco attorney about your traumatic brain injury.