What do you need to know about the Glasgow coma scale?

Brain trauma is a possible complication of getting involved in a car crash. The reality is that there are many ways to hurt your brain ranging from hitting your head to having a severe case of whiplash.

Brain trauma is something that some people will fully recover from, but others may not ever get back to their original functionality. The severity of the injury itself may determine the likelihood of a positive outcome.

If a coma was present, the Glasgow coma scale could help

Determining the severity of an injury may be possible if you use the Glasgow coma scale or other ranking systems. If you were in a coma or unresponsive for even a few minutes after a crash, the GCS may be used to rank the severity of your injuries.

On the GCS, the medical provider looks at three different categories including:

  1. Eye opening
  2. Best motor response
  3. Best verbal response

You will be assigned a point value based on what you can or cannot do in the unconscious state. For example, someone who cannot or does not open their eyes despite pain, speech or other stimuli may be given a score of 1. If they obey verbal commands, they may be given a score of 6. If they cannot give a verbal response, they may get a ranking of 1. With a total of 8, then they may be considered to be in a coma.

Those above the score of 8 are not comatose, but they may still have a moderate or minor injury preventing certain kinds of responses.

The GCS is just one way to look at brain injuries among responsive and unresponsive patients

There are many ways to determine the severity of brain injuries, and the GCS is just one. Other ways to identify the severity of injuries might include imaging scans like computerized tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging scans. With a full workup, a medical provider or team can determine how serious the brain injuries are and then begin focusing on how to best help the patient recover as much function as possible.

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