The Glasgow Coma Scale

Rating the Severity of Your Spinal Cord Injury

Intensive care units and medical professionals use a number of scoring systems to rate the severity of diseases and injuries. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a scoring system specific to patients who are experiencing neurological symptoms, such as those caused by spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

This neurological scoring system's goal is to provide an analytical framework for understanding the severity of neurological systems that translates across applications and can be used for comparison in the future.

Point System

The Glasgow Coma Scale rates consciousness and neurological symptoms on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the least and 1 the most severe. The criteria for scores are as follows.

Motor Response

  • No motor response = 1 point
  • Responds to pain with decerebate motion = 2 points
  • Flexes in response to pain = 3 points
  • Tries to withdraw from pain = 4 points
  • Tries to localize or prevent pain = 5 points
  • Obeys simple commands as asked = 6 points

Eye Response

  • No eye opening = 1 point
  • Eyes open in response to painful stimuli = 2 points
  • Eyes open in response to speech = 3 points
  • Eyes open spontaneously = 4 points

Verbal response

  • No verbal response = 1 point
  • Incomprehensible moaning or other sounds = 2 points
  • Random, inappropriate, or exclamatory speech, but no conversation = 3 points
  • Confusion and verbal disorientation = 4 points
  • Coherence and orientation = 5 points

To obtain a Glasgow Coma Score, practitioners consider each value separately and also look at a score that combines all three values. These combined values are split into categories of severity. "Severe" Glasgow Scores total 8 and under; "Moderate" 9 through 12, and "Minor" over 13. For example, a patient who tries to withdraw from pain (4 points), opens eyes in response to speech (3 points), and makes incomprehensible moaning sounds (2 points) would have a combined Glasgow Coma Score of 9, which fits in the "Moderate" category.

The Glasgow Score is just one way in which medical professionals assess a patient's condition and compare progress. It can also be useful to attorneys who wish to demonstrate a patient's progress and the severity of injury in court.

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Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP is committed to helping trauma survivors fight back against the individuals whose negligence caused their injuries. If you are ready to begin your case, contact one of our skilled San Jose spinal cord injury lawyers today for more information on whether you have a valid claim. We can discuss your matter in a case review, free of charge.

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