One of the most frightening situations a parent can experience is an accident that involves trauma to their child’s growing brain. Unfortunately, parental fears aren’t always alleviated by medical staff, especially when unheard-of terms like “visio-vestibular examination” come up, making it difficult to know exactly what’s happening as their child is being treated. 

A visio-vestibular exam is a type of test commonly used to diagnose traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in children. And while it can be successful, the test also leaves room for error. With that in mind, it’s important for parents to be aware of the potential shortcomings of these tests and what to do when a doctor fails to diagnose a TBI in a child.

What Are Visio-Vestibular Exams?

To be more specific, a visio-vestibular examination is a relatively new type of test that is used to diagnose mild TBIs, also known as concussions, in children and adolescents. The exam primarily focuses on identifying changes in normal pupil response and eye movement after a child suffers head trauma

During the test, your child’s doctor will conduct a series of vision tests on them, which include the following: 

  • Tracking a moving object with their eyes
  • Viewing a close object without experiencing double vision
  • Quickly moving their eyes to different visual targets
  • Measuring gaze stability
  • Assessing balance and gait

When a child demonstrates a deviation from normal eye function, a provider will likely diagnose them with a concussion or other such brain injury and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Can a Visio-Vestibular Exam Accurately Diagnose a Child’s Brain Injury?

Visio-vestibular exams are generally regarded as a reliable means of testing for concussions in children and teens. However, any medical test will have its shortcomings, especially when it relies on nothing more than brief observation.

One study found differing outcomes in terms of the test’s reliability, noting that its outcomes showed only fair to moderate agreement among providers. Furthermore, the study warns that certain elements of the test, such as the part that checks gaze stability, had a higher reliability rate than other aspects of the test. 

Perhaps most concerningly, the research also indicates that visio-vestibular exams may be more reliable when used with older children or adolescents. However, older children are better able to recognize and communicate when they are experiencing the symptoms of a brain injury, such as head pain or confusion. 

Ultimately, the research indicates that while visio-vestibular exams can be effective, they run the highest risk of failing to diagnose brain injuries in young children. That’s particularly alarming, as these are the group of kids who are the least able to identify or convey to their parents that something is wrong. 

Fighting For Justice After a Medical Misdiagnosis

All brain injuries, including concussions, are serious medical events that require prompt treatment. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat a child’s brain injury can have a lifelong impact. 

If a child experiences complications or lingering symptoms, it can have adverse effects on cognitive function and brain development. That, in turn, can lead to academic challenges and other issues. 

An undiagnosed concussion puts a child at greater risk of future injury, as well, especially if they experience another concussion before they have fully recovered. This is often a risk for youth athletes, as concussions are a common result of sports accidents.If a doctor fails to promptly diagnose your child’s concussion, consulting a brain injury lawyer can help you understand your options for recovering medical malpractice compensation.

Contact Our Brain Injury Law Firm in New York City

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City brain injury lawyers at Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007