Post Accident Syndrome

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My uncle and I were in an automobile accident 16 months ago. He was driving a Ford Explorer and when trying to avoid an accident, he went off the road and rolled the vehicle. I only had pain in my neck and back for a week or so. My uncle, however, had a more serious neck injury and received a concussion. Since that time he has had memory loss. Could this be from the accident?

Answer:
Whenever a person sustains a head and neck injury, it is not uncommon for them to have short term or long term memory loss. This is an objective findings that many practitioners neglect to document. In the case of your uncle, it sounds like he has sustained a post concussive syndrome. When a person sustains a post concussive syndrome, often times the symptoms are very vague at first. A person may forget where they put their keys, a conversation they had, or the meal they ate the following night. In some cases and occupations, there is little significance to this phenomenon, but in other cases individuals may loose their employment over this. If a practitioner does not identify this, often times patients do not link the correlation of their injury to their memory loss and they cannot offer any excuse for their behavior to their employer. Whenever post concussive syndrome is suspected, we usually refer patients for a neurological evaluation to document the extent of this. This documentation is not only helpful in treating patients, but may be useful in documentation in medical-legal cases. Whenever an individual sustains a concussion, it is easier for them to sustain subsequent concussions. We often see this in contact sports such a as football and necessary precautions should be taken by avoiding situations that may put a person at risk for recurrences.

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