Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2020 | Firm News |

Those in Weirton who have family members or friends who suffer traumatic brain injuries typically all have the same question: what will the victim’s long-term prognosis be? Unfortunately, answering that question with certainty may be impossible. None of the over 2.87 million incidents involving TBIs that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports occur annually are exactly the same, making it nearly impossible to project the outcome of one case based on another. However, clinicians may be able to utilize their clinical observation skills to provide a TBI victim’s loved ones with an approximation of what may lie ahead for them.

This is due to the Glasgow Coma Scale, with measures the results of a TBI victim’s responses to various forms of external stimuli to offer an idea of how extensive the damage their accident caused truly is. Per the CDC, the response categories measures are as follows:

  • Verbal
  • Eye movement
  • Motor skills

The TBI victim is assigned a score for each of these individual categories, and then those point totals are added together to come up with a final score.

A GCS score between 13 and 15 indicates that one has suffered a minor TBI (often a concussion). A complete recovery from such an injury is indeed possible (even likely) within a few days. Scores between nine and 12 indicate a moderate TBI, which can leave one dealing with cognitive and/or physical impairments to a limited extent. Yet even these types of injuries can prove costly, as they may require extensive recuperation for one to return to their pre-injury baseline.

If one registers a GCS score below 8, it is likely that they have suffered a serious TBI. Such an injury may leave them dependent on around-the-clock for an extended (if not indefinite) period of time.