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Guidelines for evaluation of psychological side-effects of brain injury
Date:2/21/2008

cisco Maiz is a graduate in General Medicine and Surgery from the UPV/EHU and currently directs Forensic Medicine at the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine.

After-effects and legal time periods

The main aim of this PhD was to provide a clinical-forensic evaluation of brain injuries, protocolising the evaluation and putting forward guidelines for the clinical and functional assessment of their neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric consequences.

One of the objectives of this research was to find out the variables that influence the duration of legal time periods: the time taken for curing, the period of disability and time of hospitalisation. These time periods are used by judges and courts to assess indemnities for corporal damage, and so, in part at least, they bear on the amount of indemnity. Corporal damage is calculated taking into account the consequences or after-effects of the brain injury: physical, neurological, neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric.

To this end, a wide-ranging review was undertaken of the theoretical aspects of the after-effects of brain injuries. With this information a protocol for a clinical-forensic evaluation to enable the diagnosis of these neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric consequences was drawn up and put forward. Likewise, a system was proposed for the evaluation of the psychological side effects corresponding to the international classifications of mental illnesses.

Main conclusions

The researcher pointed out that in the clinical-forensic evaluation for neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric after-effects of brain injuries, the guidelines will aid the initial assessments.

According to this study, female patients that have suffered brain injury are hospitalized for longer periods. As regards the period of curing and disability, however, there were no significant differences between the sexes.

These legal time periods are not linked to t
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