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Lack of Awareness Amongst Doctors

Lack of Awareness Amongst Doctors

If you are worried about the advice that was given to you following a head injury, please see Patient information for details about what to look out for and what to do.

When we go and visit our general practitioners, we need to be aware that not all doctors are aware of brain injury and it can be helpful to take information along with us.  

When it comes to brain injury, it is apparent that there are loopholes in the medial training. Neurological specialities are not part of the curriculum for general practitioners and other non-specialist medical professionals.

Currently, brain injury training is the domain of doctors who choose to specialise in neurological subjects, and this leaves gaps in understanding. While many brain injury support organisations and associations across the world are tackling the problems this framework creates by educating practising doctors directly; there can still be gaps in the knowledge many non-specialist doctors have.

Problems arise when the public are unaware of the complications and dangers. For example, an on-going problematic headache following a head injury, or even a whiplash, can be indicative of a slow brain bleed and if left untreated can lead to more severe damage or in rare instances death.

Brain injuries respond best and most spontaneously to immediate and aggressive treatment. Doctors still dismiss many people and send them home to rest and take an aspirin. People don’t question the advice given because they trust that the doctor knows best. A delayed referral can make a difference in how well someone recovers.

That a biological cascade of inflammatory chemicals is continuing to cause cellular damage is also generally dismissed. Medications are being developed to slow this chemical cascade; however, they are not yet in mainstream clinical usage (at the time of writing August 2019) and may cause unknown side-effects and further problems as the body, and injured brain, can be sensitive to and reject the synthetic ingredients of prescribed drugs.

This lack of awareness allows people to fall through the net, and they are left to struggle on their own. The disabling effects of neurological damage can themselves cause further problems – many people are left struggling to understand that they need any help at all. Difficulty understanding can indicate that a person needs a referral to a specialist; many people assume that things will improve on their own in time and do not revisit their doctor.

Ignoring the secondary outcomes of brain injury can cause symptoms to last for months, or possibly many years during which, people struggle, relationships become fraught and fall apart, sources of income can stop, and some people even end up in prison – all as a result of this lack of awareness.

These issues and outcomes are both traumatic and severe and can cause many severe complications such as a loss of mental wellness and isolation from social circles and community.

What to do

If you are new to brain injury -> Head Injury Advice

If you have been living with brain injury outcomes and symptoms for more than six months – > Brain Injury A guide for General Practitioners – Click To Print / Download

Find a brain injury support group or organisation near you. In your browser type, ‘brain injury support group near me.’ They will be able to give you support and advice about services in your local area.

 

An excellent report from the University of California San Francisco

 

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