Phineas Gage Suffers A Traumatic Brain Injury

1507 words - 7 pages

Phineas Gage, a 25 year old construction worker is known as one of the most famous patients that suffered from a traumatic brain injury. While working at a railroad site, an iron tamping rod (43 inches long, 1.25 diameter) went through his left cheek, through his brain, and out the skull. He surprisingly ended up surviving this traumatic injury. After a month in the hospital, he was back out on the street. Once a nice, caring person, Phineas turned into an aggressive man who could not even keep a job. Just like Phineas Gage, a TBI can potentially change everything. Brain studies on traumatic brain injuries are increasing every year. Even though the brain is very functional, brain injuries can have many physical, emotional, social, and economical effects “The Phineas Gage Information Page”.

Although the brain only weighs about three pounds, it is one of the most powerful organs in the body. The cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem are the three main parts of the brain. The cerebrum fill most of the skull, its basic functions are for remembering, problem solving, thinking, and feeling (Bellamy 23). It also controls movement. The cerebellum is located towards the back of the head. It controls coordination and balance. The brain stem is underneath the cerebrum and in front of your cerebellum. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure (Carter 12). The brain is also divided into halves. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, while the right side of the brain, controls the left side of the body (Bellamy 17).

Traumatic brain injury happens when a force causes a brain dysfunction (Parker 10). A violent jolt to the head/body can result in a TBI. A jolt to the head can cause many different areas of the brain to be harmed, because the brain may move back and forth. A spinning type of jolt can cause the cellular parts of the brain to tear. A blast/explosion can cause the whole brain to be damaged. If an object inserts the brain, it may cause permanent damage to brain cells and the tissue (Cicala 6).
The most common types of causes to result in a traumatic brain injury are: falls, vehicle-related accidents, violence, sport’s, and explosives. Falling out of bed, down the stairs, and off ladders, is the most common way for children and the elderly to get a TBI (Ross 20). Collisions in cars, bikes, and motorcycles are also another common way. However, ten percent of TBI’s are caused from violence. This includes gun shot wounds and even child abuse (21). Soccer, hockey, football, baseball, and other sports are common to get a brain injury from. Alcohol is a factor in about half of all brain injuries (Cicalla 224) If a person is careful enough, and knows the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, it can be avoided (223).
Those that are expected to have a TBI are looked at in an emergency room and may take a clinical exam, they may face...

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