Ottawa Injury Lawyer: Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

Ottawa Injury Lawyer: Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Ottawa, you may have heard of the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which is a system used by doctors to evaluate and diagnose the symptoms associated with TBI.

GCS: An Overview

GCS is a 15-point scale that helps doctors determine the severity of a patient’s brain injury.

Patients are evaluated in the following categories:

  1. Motor Response: Scores range from 1 (no motor response) to 6 (obeys commands fully)
  2. Verbal Response: Scores range from 1 (no verbal response) to 5 (alert, coherent, and oriented)
  3. Eye Opening Response: Scores range from 1 (no eye opening) to 4 (eyes opening spontaneously)

Interpreting GCS Results

The patient’s three scores are added up, and the final score helps to diagnose the injury.

Generally, the scores can be classified as follows:

13 to 15: Mild brain injury

9 to 12: Moderate brain injury

3 to 8: Severe brain injury

Many medical practitioners consider 8 to be the critical score, meaning that patients with a score less than or equal to 8 are often in a coma.

TBI Symptoms: Mild vs. Severe

A patient who receives a GCS score of 13 to 15 is typically diagnosed with a mild brain injury. Their symptoms, however, can still last one year or more and have a serious impact.

Common symptoms of mild TBI include:

–   Fatigue

–   Headaches

–   Memory loss

–   Dizziness or lack of balance

–   Inability to concentrate or pay attention

–   Seizures

–   Mood changes, including irritability or feelings of depression

Patients who score less than 13 on the Glasgow Coma Scale are typically diagnosed with a moderate to severe brain injury. The symptoms of moderate or severe TBI are wide-ranging and can affect all areas of a patient’s life.

These symptoms may include:

–   Difficulties speaking, concentrating, or remembering

–   Loss of vision or blurred vision

–   Loss of hearing or ringing in the ears

–   Seizures

–   Paralysis

–   Chronic pain

–   Sleep disorders

–   Changes in appetite

–   Emotional difficulties, including irritability, depression, aggression, or lack of awareness


Treatment and Recovery

GCS is an important tool in accurately diagnosing traumatic brain injury. Once the patient’s injury has been classified as mild, moderate, or severe, a proper course of treatment can prescribed. If you or someone you know has suffered from TBI as a result of an accident, be sure to consult an injury lawyer as part of your recovery process. A good injury lawyer can help you understand and settle the legal aspects of your injury.

To speak with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth, please call us at +1 (613) 233-4529, email us at [email protected], or use our contact form.

About the Author: Brenda Hollingsworth

Brenda Hollingsworth co-founded Ottawa’s Auger Hollingsworth in 2005 with her husband Richard Auger. Together, their mission was to create a personal injury law firm for Eastern Ontario that is unrivalled in the province for customer service and legal expertise. Brenda was named an Ottawa Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recipient and took home the Women’s Business Network’s Businesswoman of the Year award in the Professional category. She was also recognized as one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s “Top 50 People in the Capital.” She is often quoted as an expert and has appeared in media outlets such as CTV, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Sun Media, CBC, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, CFRA and many legal publications.

Helpful info, delivered to you—free!

Sign up for our free monthly newsletter. It’s full of useful info (plus occasional giveaways). You can unsubscribe anytime.