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A simple test can help predict coma recovery after a car crash

If your loved one is in a coma after a car crash, there will be one question at the top of your mind: You want to know if they’ll ever wake up — and what kind of recovery they will make.

Traditional tests used to predict coma recovery have an error rate of around 40%. As the relative of someone in a coma due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you need to know what the future holds. A “sniff test” may provide the answers.

What is the sniff test?

A recent study found that a coma patient’s response to smell can help predict their recovery. Researchers put three jars to the patient’s nose. One smelt of rotting fish, one of shampoo and one had no smell. They measured airflow into the patient’s nose to see if they sniffed at the jars and how their response varied between the jars.

The study found that 100% of people in a vegetative state who responded to the sniff test went on to regain at least a mildly conscious state. Three and a half years later, 91% of them were still alive, while 63% of those who had not responded to the sniff test had died.

The sniff test also helps determine the person’s current state by comparing their response to the different jars. That allows medics to choose what sort of pain relief to administer.

What can you do to protect your interests after a devasting injury to a loved one?

Insurance companies will push you to settle early after a car crash. They know that a severe TBI could cost them a lot of money, and they want to limit what they pay. Working with an experienced attorney can help you protect your interests — and provide for your loved one’s future needs.