Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon, welcome to our show today. My name is Cindy Speaker and I have with me as my guest attorney Nathan Guin of Gardberg & Kemmerly. You know him, he’s been with me many times. Nathan, how you doing?
Nathan Guin: I’m doing pretty well Cindy, how you doing?
Cindy Speaker: Good. It’s good to see you.
Nathan Guin: Good to see you too. It’s been a little bit.
Cindy Speaker: I know.
Nathan Guin: I’m glad to be back.
Cindy Speaker: It’s been a little while.
Well Nathan, today we’re going to talk about TBIs as they relate to veterans. So first of all explain to us what is a TBI?
Nathan Guin: A TBI is just short for traumatic brain injury. And essentially what that means is there is any kind of action or reaction or anything that basically impacts the head or the brain whether it be the force of blast or potentially a gunshot or just different types of shrapnel fragments, different things like that. It’s a outside force that either jolts or hits the head or pierces the head and causes significant trauma to the brain. And that can lead to cognitive disorders and other kind of issues down the road if you have a traumatic brain injury. More so like a concussion would or a very serious concussion or a series of concussions might.
Cindy Speaker: This topic is getting a lot more awareness in all realms and I’m glad that it’s finally coming to veterans ’cause we need to help our veterans. I imagine many of them suffer from that. We’re going to talk about that later in the show. But before we do that, can and how do TBIs affect other service connected disabilities such as PTSD?
Nathan Guin: Kind of like we talked about before, a lot of the symptoms of TBIs are going to be cognitive issues so either it’s going to be more aggressive or you might have depression or anxiety issues. It could be paranoid, it could be any number of different things in your brain. It can be you have memory issues. There’s any, that’s the crazy thing about TBIs is there’s such a wide ranging array of symptoms whether it be mental or if it’s cognitive, things that are neurological that relate to other parts of the body.
The biggest thing you see is more likely than not that if the veteran has TBI then they’re probably going to have PTSD as well and that can be difficult because a lot of the times they won’t have PTSD by itself is bad enough as it is but if you throw into there also some additional cognitive disorders, some more issues with the brain, some more instances where that’s been compromised or injured in different ways then that can really exacerbate a lot of the symptoms that PTSD patients would also exhibit. A lot of times it’s going to, if you have one you’re usually going to, if you have the TBI you’re usually going to have the PTSD along with it because something traumatic has probably happened at that point in time.
Cindy Speaker: That makes sense. Nathan, are there any new advances in the care of veterans in this arena?
Nathan Guin: There’s a new type of MRI, I was actually rereading an article, it’s an article called Ryan’s Story about the SEAL team member who had a TBI and they tried to do conventional MRIs but they’re basically invisible in conventional MRIs and TBIs in general can very challenging to diagnose or evaluate both from that perspective in that MRIs can’t see them and also your symptoms could not display for weeks or months afterwards. If you take a really long time.
There’s now a new thing, a diffuser sensor or diffuse sensor imaging is what it is called. It’s a different type of MRI. Essentially what they say it can do is there’s a specific amount of water in your brain and I guess with the TBI, the way I understand it is, when you have a TBI that can be displaced. And so they can somehow use that to determine if there’s been a TBI because it’ll look different at different parts of the brain. It won’t look as uniform as it should in terms of water content. That’s kind of the best, I don’t want to get too deep into weeds. That’s the best I can really understand is that there’s a new way kind of a different route that they’ve taken to try to figure out if people have TBI that’s been helpful in evaluating those.
Cindy Speaker: That’s good news. How many veterans are affected by this? How pervasive is it?
Nathan Guin: Also citing that article that we read, it’s from Full Measure. There’s apparently the official numbers are like 375,000 veterans have been diagnosed or treated with TBI since 2001 but those are just the official numbers. We were talking about earlier TBIs are getting a lot more publicity especially as it relates to veterans mostly because they’re being misdiagnosed or mistreated, different things like that. Or they’re kind of missing things. And so they expect that the real number of that would be probably double 375,000, they expect about half of the actual cases would go undiagnosed or unreported for one reason or another ’cause it’s is so difficult to get a handle and kind of pin down. There’s been a lot, probably more so than they actually think but like I said, it’s getting a lot more attention so hopefully they’ll be better treatment for it.
Cindy Speaker: Now Nathan, how can you help in these types of cases or claims?
Nathan Guin: If you have a traumatic brain injury related to service that is a some kind of disability that you can get compensation for. Get a disability compensation rating so if you’ve had any kind of traumatic brain injury in service you can apply for VA disability benefits through that and obviously we can help with that. But if you have claim that’s already pending or if you haven’t put a claim in, go ahead and do that if you have a traumatic brain injury and then if you get a rating decision back we can obviously help you on that and help you get the benefits that you’re entitled to.
Cindy Speaker: Outstanding. Nathan if someone wants to reach out to you what’s the best way to do that?
Nathan Guin: They can give us a call either at 251-343-1111 or they can go to our website www.gardberglaw.com. That’s G-A-R-D-B-E-R-G law.com. And the best thing about our firm is that we’re accredited through the VA, it’s all administrative law so all the VA attorneys that work here can work on cases all over the United States, really all over the world as long as you’re a veteran we can help you wherever you are. So if you’re seeing this and you think well I’m in Washington state or I’m in Alaska or wherever you may be, and they think well they can’t help me. We can help anybody. We’ve got clients all over the country and we’d been more than happy to help anybody.
Cindy Speaker: Outstanding. Outstanding. Nathan, thanks for your time today.
Nathan Guin: Thanks Cindy I appreciate you having me.
Cindy Speaker: All right. To those of you watching either live or by replay, if you have questions or comments, leave them right on this page. Get your questions answered. Thanks everybody and have a great day.