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Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

Many previous posts on this blog touched on the impact that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) might have on your life. Yet in many cases, the impact is not direct. You may not have been the one to suffer the TBI, but your relationship with whomever did (be it a family member or friend in New Mexico) prompts you to want to help provide for their care.

Providing that care requires understanding what their long-term prognosis may be. Many come to us here at McGinn Montoya Love Curry & Sievers PA, PA believing that to be impossible in the immediate aftermath of their loved ones’ injuries. But is it?

Predicting the Prognosis of a TBI

Immediately after receiving a TBI patient, clinicians will often conduct a clinical observation test in conjunction with an indicator metric known as the “Glasgow Coma Scale” (GCS). The elements observed in this test include:

  • Eye movement
  • Motor skills
  • Verbal responses

When your loved one sustains a TBI, the hope is that their responses in the aforementioned areas will approximate the clinical baselines (in other words, standard responses). Their caretakers will assign them a score based on those responses, then add all individual scores up to get the overall GCS score.

Using GCS Scores to Classify TBIs

According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your family member or friend’s GCS score can be used to classify their injury and, therefore, determine its severity. For example, a GCS score of 13 or above indicates a mild TBI (mTBI), while a score between nine and 12 indicates a moderate one. A score of eight or below indicates a severe injury, from which you may conclude that your loved one might need extensive (even lifelong) care.

Explore our site to discover more information on dealing with catastrophic injuries. If you are seeking legal representation against the negligent party that caused your loved one’s TBI, contact our lawyers online or at (505) 405-4441.


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We are dedicated to supporting families during the most challenging times, with a focus exclusively on cases involving catastrophic injuries or the loss of a loved one. Please reach out if you have any questions. We look forward to speaking with you.

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