Getting Appropriate Care After a TBI Involves the Patient, Doctors, and Family

I think it's important for service members to seek care. even if they did not receive the appropriate care in theater it's not too late to get that care. I think it's very important that they seek out providers and tell them their story and make sure they communicate all the different problems they're having. Some may be related to the concussion. Some of them may have been aggravated or triggered by the concussion but may represent even an underlying medical condition that needs to be identified and addressed. So from the provider's standpoint I would emphasize that providers back home need to go back and talk about what happened in theater and talk about if they did or did not receive care in theater. If they did receive care I really encourage providers back home to make an effort to get access to those clinical notes and find out what the issues were while the service member was in theater and especially if they saw a specialist in theater. See what the thoughts were at that time and what the recommendations were. That may guide care back home. I would certainly encourage the family members to ensure that their loved one receives appropriate evaluation and care. That may require specialty care involvement. If they notice significant headaches, for instance, or significant problems, change in personality, change in mood. Those service members may benefit from seeing a neurologist or mental health provider in addition to a primary care provider. I think it's very important that the different problems that service members may be having be carefully evaluated. The cause may or may not be solely related to that concussion.

Service members who sustained a TBI in theater need to seek professional care once they are home. Sharing their injury history, symptoms, and any diagnosis or treatment done in theater will help the stateside doctors better tailor care.

Beverly Scott

Col. Beverly Scott, MD currently serves as chief of the Neurology Service and Neuro-Ophthalmology staff at Madigan Army Medical Center. Current academic interests include posttraumatic migraine and co-morbidities associated with concussion.

Posted on BrainLine July 20, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Youcha, Brian King, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.