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Minor head trauma usually does not cause significant brain injury. To be safe, clinicians often obtain head CT scans to ensure no major injury is present. For minor head trauma (Glascow coma scale 13-15), the risk to benefit ratio for head CT is usually not in favor of getting CT scans. When the Canadian head CT rule or New Orleans Criteria are negative, there is a very small risk for missing a significant brain injury. Joshua Easter, MD from the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia who authored a JAMA Rational Clinical Examination article on this topic is interviewed as is Frederick Rivara, from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington who wrote an accompanying editorial. Michelle Mello, a Law Professor at Stanford, discusses the medical liability associated with not obtaining neuroimaging for minor head trauma.
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