Nervous System Case Study  7


Traumatic Brain Injury


Rob K. graduated from a private high school in a liberal northern California city.  The war in Iraq was an intense debate during his years in high school and he had some views that were not dissimilar to many of his peers.  However, his grandfather served in the Marines in World War Two and his father had flown combat missions as a Navy fighter pilot during the Viet Nam war.  Rob decided to see for himself what this war was all about and joined the US Army after high school graduation.  After two years of training as combat infantryman he was sent to Baghdad.  During a routine patrol in Karbala, 30 miles south of Baghdad, his HumVee was hit with an IED (improvised explosive device).  Rob sustained a serious head injury and was medevaced within 30 minutes to the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. After stabilizing him, he was then flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.   After 11 days of recovery he was then flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington DC for further treatments.

1.) Compare and contrast the structure and functions of the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System.


2.) Why is there electrical activity in the brain? Describe how it is used by neurons.


3.) Describe the parts of the brain and the function each controls.


4.) Describe the initial treatments Rob would receive that would stabilize him prior to transport to Germany.


5.) While in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, neurosurgeons removed 1/3 of RobŐs cranium near the injury.  Why was this done?


6.) Major parts of RobŐs brain, the frontal lobes, primary somatosensory cortex, and BrocaŐs Area were damaged in the explosion.  What effects will this have on RobŐs physical and cognitive abilities. 


7.) Compile a list of rehabilitation options from acute care through in and outpatient rehabilitation, educational reintegration, and long-term functional status for Rob.  How will his progress measured?


8.)  Rob is now in Palo Alto at the Comprehensive Combat Care unit of Balboa Hospital awaiting reconstructive skull surgery.  What is the long-term prognosis for traumatic brain injury patients given our current understanding of brain function.