When a person in Boston suffers a traumatic brain injury, there are numerous problems that can arise. One in particular is that the injured person falls into a coma. The mere word “coma” can strike fear into family members because its connotation indicates the possibility of extended problems, long-term care and death sooner rather than later. Since coma often happens when a person has been the victim of a head injury, it’s important to know details describing it, treating it and what the prognosis over the long and short term might be.

When a person is in a coma, he or she is unconscious, but it is in a deeper state than what it generally considered being unconscious. There could be many reasons for this, and one frequent cause is a head injury. The person may be able to breathe on his or her own, maintain circulation and have other functions remain intact. The eyes might open, and there might be response to certain external stimuli or even emotional reactions. There is no reaction to commands, nor is there speaking.

When a person is in a coma, but isn’t in immediate danger of dying, the medical professionals will try to keep the individual as healthy as possible by keeping them free of infection and maintaining the patient’s physical body. This can include basic physical therapy and keeping the skin from experiencing breakdown. There could be permanent physical issues if the person is not given therapy while in a coma. When there is a traumatic brain injury, the severity of the long-term aftereffects will depend on the injury’s severity. The person might recover completely, could die or end up somewhere in between, needing long-term care.

There could be physical, mental and emotional challenges to overcome when recovering from a coma. This will require rehabilitative care and can cost a significant amount of money. The time spent in a coma can vary from weeks to many years. Often, a person in this state will develop pneumonia and die because of that rather than due to the injuries and coma. Knowing the causes and effects of traumatic brain injury and what to do after it happens can be difficult and speaking to a person with experience in these types of injuries can be beneficial.

Source: Neuroskills.com, “Coma,” accessed on Nov. 24, 2014