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New Study Shows Poorer Outcomes for Minorities Suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury

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brainA recent study by the Kessler foundation has raised a new issue in the battle to treat traumatic brain injury: ethnicity. The study, published in Neurorehabilitation, found that minorities do not have the same success rates in long-term treatment as Caucasians.

The minority population in the U.S. is growing and along with it is the rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, traditional treatments appear to lead to health disparities among minorities and poorer long-term outcomes. Why? The answer isn’t clear at this point, but the researchers who conducted this study concluded that a better treatment paradigm would take into account the ethnicity, language, religion, and even sexual orientation of the patient.

Another study conducted in 2011 looked at fifty-eight minority patients with TBI who had been discharged from neurosurgery; 28 were black and 30 were Hispanic. The participants answered a questionnaire about forty misconceptions about TBI. Surprisingly, on average the participants showed they had misconceptions about one-third of the questions, mostly relating to amnesia and the crucial category of recovery. The study concluded the misconceptions were due to lower education and religious beliefs. Spanish-speaking participants fared poorer than English-speaking and black participants.

Like this most recent study, the conclusions from the 2011 study determined that health care providers need to educate minorities and correct their misconceptions in order to form a rehabilitative plan that is realistic and attainable. Patients who set unrealistic goals may be less inclined to follow their treatment plan when it isn’t working as well or as quickly as they expect.

Continuing research is key to developing better treatment options for victims of TBI, whether the injury was caused by a fall, car accident, or sport. Unfortunately though, implementing new treatment options is expensive. Victims of traumatic brain injury face a long road to recovery, and even then, 100% recovery is rare. Long-term disability, especially in cognitive functioning, is common.

If you suffer from TBI due to a fall, car accident, or other accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault party to get the compensation you deserve. Your recovery plan should not be compromised because of financial strain. I encourage you to read our firm’s answers to frequently asked questions about TBI to help you decide whether legal action is right for you.

AM