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What is a Coma? - A coma is defined as a period of time, from hours or days to months, where a patient is unconsciousness.

Yet comas are different and they often coincide with the level of injury to the brain. For common identification, a scale, called the Glasgow Scale, is used to determine the depth of the coma.

The Glasgow Coma Scale

Initially developed to provide physicians a simple way of measuring the severity of the coma, The Glasgow Coma Scale is a set of criteria based upon the patient’s eye movement, speech, and bodily movement.

Fully awake and alert, healthy individuals would have a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of 15 for a healthy patient and 3 for a completely comatose – or deceased – patient. Those patients in light comas often have responses to stimuli. Some may even have many traits of conscious patients, yet they are still considered to be in a coma, by the scale.

The Glasgow Scale measures three areas: Eye movement, verbal response and motor response.

For eye movement, or trying to open the eyes:

Eyes fully open naturally =4
Eyes fully open when commanded =3
Eyes fully open when in pain =2
No movement =1

For Verbal Response:

Oriented when commanded =5
Disoriented or Confused =4
Uses inappropriate words =3
Unintelligible words =2
No verbal response =1

Motor Responses:

Moves when commanded =6
When in pain =6
Withdraws when in pain =4
Unusual repositioning when in pain (flexion) =3
Unusual repositioning when in pain (extensor) =2
No motor responses =1

Decorticate and Decerebrate Comas

The terms that describe the most traumatic of all comas are decorticate and decerebrate. When the brain cortex has been injured and isn’t working — or in other words, that part of the brain which deals with movement, sensation, and thought – the injured individual is deemed to be a decorticate patient. When the cerebrum, the cortex, and the brain stem – which controls basic functions such as cardiac and respiratory, or heartbeat and breathing — is not working, the injured individual is deemed to be a decerebrate patient.

Some of these symptoms may be medically alleviated, but many are deadly to the patient and his or her family.

Having an attorney at your side with a focus in brain injury litigation is critical in providing you the opportunity to get the financial compensation you deserve. You will not pay a thing unless you win your lawsuit. If you win or settle your lawsuit, The Doan Law Firm will charge a percentage of the compensation amount, leaving you free from the costs of the actual court case.

The Doan Law Firm can assist in determining damages owed you after a brain injury. The Doan Law Firm knows that although accidents don’t wait for daylight hours to happen. However, we’re available to answer your phone call any time, day or night, at (800) 349-0000. Contact us today to learn more.

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