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Is Coup-Contrecoup Easily Diagnosed?

Try to imagine a scenario where you and your two children were in a minor car accident about a week ago. You struck your head on the door but your children were safely secured in their car seats and didn’t suffer any apparent injuries. You were taken to Inova, and your doctor stitched you up, did a precursory exam on you and your children and then sent you home.

Now, a week later, you and your children have been suffering severe headaches, your daughter can’t sleep and your son has been obnoxiously irritable. Could your doctor have missed something?

How to Help Your Doctor Diagnose Coup-Contrecoup

Coup-contrecoup can easily be missed during an exam. This is why it is extremely important that you describe your accident to your doctor as well as ask questions about head trauma possibilities with as much detail as possible. Even if your head didn’t directly impact or strike anything, sudden force or an abrupt acceleration/deceleration could cause the brain to shift and collide into the skull, causing contusions or countrecoup injuries.

Therefore, you need to be as direct as possible with your physician and make sure he does a thorough exam of everyone’s heads, skulls, and brains if there was any chance one of you may have suffered brain damage.

Here’s what you must do when you interact with your family doctor:

  • Describe your accident and injury
  • Accurately describe pain level and changes with vision, mood, or stability since the accident
  • Request a CT, MRI, or brain scan to make sure there is no internal damage
  • Specifically ask about the possibility of coup-contrecoup

Although it may be hard or awkward to question your physician, when it comes to your or your child’s health, you need to make sure all areas are covered. Likewise, don’t allow a doctor’s mistake to cost you everything. If you believe your head injury or a loved one’s injury was misdiagnosed, contact an experienced brain injury lawyer to discuss possible damages and compensation.

There are no excuses for a misdiagnosis, especially if you followed the necessary precautions during the initial visit. Call us today for a free consultation to get the justice you deserve.

Inova and Reston treat hundreds of emergency head injuries on a daily basis. From icepacks and stitches to traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatments, these emergency rooms have it covered. However, some head injuries can be deceptive when it comes to the amount of damage they inflict. Some injuries appear to be simple bumps or bruises, while in actuality they could be indications of a far worse TBI called coup-contrecoup.

What is Coup-Contrecoup?

The term coup-contrecoup is used when a single blunt force injury causes internal damage to both the site of impact as well as the opposite side of the brain. The force of the initial blow will most likely cause easily diagnosable injuries such as contusions or cuts to the outside of the skull; however, if the force causes the brain to be “knocked” around or collide with the skull, this could cause multiple TBI injuries that are harder to diagnose. MRIs are generally required to diagnose and identify the common brain injuries associated with coup-contrecoup, such as:

  • Bruising
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Contusions
  • Swelling

When it comes to brain injuries, time lost is brain lost, so if you’ve been misdiagnosed or mistreated for coup-contrecoup, the consequences could be horrendous. An experienced TBI lawyer can help you get the justice and treatment you deserve. Don’t allow your doctor’s mistake to cost you everything. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Please share this page with your friends and family to raise awareness for unseen brain injury health risks.

Need more information about brain injury claims? Feel free to browse our site to see how our experience can help you.


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