Locked in syndrome affects motor function, but pain may be possible in some cases. Most people with the condition describe feeling scared and anxious early on, but once they develop communication systems and can interact with those around them, they can live a relatively high quality of life with the right tools and training.
What Locked In Syndrome Is
Locked in syndrome is a condition where the person cannot move their limbs, trunk, or head, and cannot communicate verbally. Most retain vertical eye movement, and some people also can blink. Despite these impairments, they remain cognitively intact and fully aware of their surroundings and the situation they are in.
The fear and anxiety those with locked in syndrome describe in the first days and weeks following their injury or illness would only be natural in this situation. In many cases, their families and doctors are unaware the patient is “locked in” until an electroencephalograph or other test shows full brain activity.
Treatment and Care for Those With Locked In Syndrome
There is no standard treatment or cure for locked in syndrome. This condition has an immediate and significant impact on quality of life. Pain and discomfort related to nerve damage may be possible in some patients and require medication. Some people also need assistance with sleeping, regulating body temperature, breathing, and other autonomic functions.
Thanks to the ability to move their eyes, as well as advances in brain-computer interfaces, communication is easier today than ever before for those with locked-in syndrome. This significantly improves quality of life for those with locked-in syndrome.
Preventing secondary infections and injuries, primarily bedsores and pneumonia, are key to remaining healthy despite suffering from locked in syndrome.
Prognosis for People with Locked In Syndrome
Most people with locked in syndrome never recover significant motor function or the ability to communicate verbally. However, they can live fulfilling lives thanks to eye gaze devices, brain-computer interface devices, customized wheelchairs, and other equipment. However, the cost of this highly advanced technology is too much for many families, especially if their insurance will not pay toward the purchase or rental.
Many people with locked-in syndrome can remain at home with support from their family and home health care visits. While significant recovery has been reported in some cases, this is extremely rare. In most cases, ongoing care will be necessary for the rest of their lives.
Pursue Compensation for Locked In Syndrome
Locked in syndrome caused by a traumatic brain injury or medical malpractice may support legal action to pursue compensation to pay for ongoing care, pain and suffering, and other expenses and losses. The Newsome | Melton team will review your case for free and can take action on your loved one’s behalf.
Let us determine your eligibility to pursue compensation and offer advice on how to proceed with your case. Call us at (800) 917-5888 for your free case evaluation and let us go to work for your family today.