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How does the Glasgow Coma Scale apply to head trauma?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2018 | Longshore Act

Many longshoremen in New York face a risk of experiencing a serious head injury while on the job. In this case, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is often used to assess a person’s level of consciousness after such an injury has occurred, which serves an indication of how severe any damage present truly is. Brainline.org offers the following information on the GCS and how it’s used to assess head injuries.

Head injuries evaluated using the GCS are ranked as mild, moderate, and severe. Mild injuries receive a ranking between 13 and 15, moderate injuries fall between 9 and 12, while anything 8 and under is typically considered severe. Doctors arrive at these numbers by testing the patient in three different bodily areas, which include the ability to open one’s eyes, verbal response, and motor function.

When it comes to opening a person’s eyes, doctors consider a spontaneous ability to be the best, which is why it’s ranked as a 4. Opening eyes because of sound or pressure is slightly less favorable, while not opening your eyes at all is an indication of serious damage. Verbal responses are classed in a similar manner, with a 5 signaling an oriented response, a 4 meaning confusion, and so on.

When it comes to motor responses, a score of 6 indicates a person is able to sufficiently obey the common provided. Conversely, a 5 denotes a localized stimulus-response, 4 means movement is in the normal range, 3 categorizes movement in the abnormal range, and 2 indicates involuntary extension as a result of stimuli. Doctors take the best responses from each of the above areas and add them together to get a final value.