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June 14, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(11):993. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080240063017

Accurate prognosis is essential in medicine. When _ one attempts to assess the results of injury, this is particularly true, not only from the patient's point of view, but also for medical-legal purposes. Miller and Stern1 recently reported the results of a long-term study of patients with head injuries resulting from industrial and road accidents. They found that, in a surprising number of instances, patients who had been categorized as seriously or totally disabled—and compensated accordingly— after a number of years had recovered sufficiently to be able to resume gainful work.

The investigators reexamined 92 survivors of a group of 100 consecutive patients in whom head injury had been associated with posttraumatic amnesia of more than 24 hours' duration. The minimum duration between first and second examination was six years. Eight patients not available for follow-up had died; however, in only one case was death related to the head injury. Eighty

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