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What exactly is a coma?


Catastrophic injuries are those that can affect victims for the remainder of their life. Spinal cord injuries and brain injuries are two possible catastrophic injuries. When it comes to brain injuries, a person can suffer from a minor injury or a severe injury. Severe brain injuries can often result in the person being in a coma. It is crucial that people who have a loved one in a coma understand a bit about the condition.

What are the symptoms of a coma?

The main symptom of a coma is unresponsiveness. This is usually associated with closed eyes, lack of reflexes, lack of movement, irregular breathing, and diminished brainstem reflexes. A coma can be short-term or can last a year or more. Generally, a coma won’t last more than a few weeks.

How is a coma diagnosed?

A coma is usually diagnosed with a physical exam. Imaging tests and blood work might also be used to aid in the diagnosis and to come up with a treatment plan. Generally, emergency room staff members will focus on ensuring the person in the coma can breathe, which often means placing the person on a ventilator. From there, they will try to determine the root cause of the coma so that appropriate action can be taken.

If you have a loved one in a coma that was caused by an accident, you might opt to explore your options for seeking compensation. This might be possible if your loved one was injured by a negligent driver or similar incident. Once you know your options, you can decide what course of action you will take.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Coma,” accessed March 14, 2016

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