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Coma

Coma(TBI)
Definition
Case Study
Impairment
A serious head injury is referred to as where the patient is in a coma for 6 hours or more or has post-traumatic amnesia for 24 hours or more. A coma is called a state of unconsciousness in which the patient is unresponsive.
Individual levels of a coma are measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale. This measures the patient’s ability to respond by means of their eyes opening, motor response and verbal response. The minimum number and least responsive is 3 and the maximum is 15.
When the head injury is so severe that the patient remains in a coma state for an extended period, but is able to breathe without mechanical assistance, this is called a permanent vegetative state.
The period of time that a person remains in a coma or unconscious is often directly relevant to the future risk of developing epilepsy.

Case Study
The word “coma” comes from the greek word “koma” meaning “deep sleep”. This means that the ancient Greeks probably assumed that those who were comatose were experiencing heavy sleep, instead of suffering from unconsciousness.

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A 23-year-old man who was left in a coma for six weeks after the car he was a passenger in struck a parked vehicle has received £5.675m in damages.
The driver of the car lost control after being apparently blinded by the sun as he drove over the crest of a hill. Although the driver escaped unscathed, the man suffered a permanent brain injury. After lying in a coma for six weeks, the man was transferred to a rehabilitation centre where he remained for three months before being discharged into the care of his parents. After a short time at home, he secured a place at a specialist residential brain injury centre where he underwent intensive neuro-rehabilitation treatment for another 15 months before returning home.

Within coma itself, there are several categories that describe the severity of impairment. Contrary to popular belief, a patient in a comatose state does not always lay still and quiet, and may talk, walk, and perform other functions that may sometimes appear to be conscious acts, yet are not.