What Is The Glasgow Coma Scale?

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) helps determine the level of consciousness a person is experiencing after a traumatic brain injury occurs. Trauma teams, medical personnel and doctors will use the GCS to make medical determinations and plan treatment for the injured person.

The GCS is a simple and reliable test that is performed initially after an injury, and again as many times as necessary to ascertain an individual’s condition.

What does the Glasgow Coma Scale test?

The following key elements are tested using the GCS, and a scoring system is used to record the patient’s responses:

  • Eye Opening (E): The patient’s ability to open his or her eyes is tested to determine level of consciousness. Scores are recorded on a scale of one to four, with four indicating the ability to open eyes spontaneously, and one indicating no ability to open the eyes at all.
  • Verbal Response (V): Medical personnel will attempt to speak with the patient to determine whether he or she can speak back to them. This response is recorded on a scale of one to five, with five indicating the ability to speak in normal conversation and one indicating no ability to speak at all.
  • Motor Response (M): Motor response refers to the patient’s physical response to touch or to their body posture. A scale of one to six is used to record motor response, and a six would indicate normal responses while a one would indicate no response.

What does the Glasgow Coma Scale test score mean?

The GCS calculator simply requires adding the scores assigned to eye opening, verbal response, and motor response to indicate the severity of the patient’s condition on a numeric scale.

A score on the GCS that fall between:

  • three and eight indicates a severe brain injury;
  • nine and 12 is issued for a moderate brain injury; and
  • 13 and 15 means that the injury is mild in severity.

Can the Glasgow Coma Scale test be used for children?

The adult version of the GCS is not accurate when used on young children. To accommodate the different needs and abilities of children, the Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale (PGCS) was developed.

Medical professionals still test the same three responses—eye opening, verbal response, and motor response—using the PGCS, but the scoring scales are slightly different. The same overall scoring system that indicates severity of the injury is used for children.

If You Need Legal Help, Call the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz

Brain injury patients may suffer extensive injuries and damages, such as long-term care and rehabilitation in the most severe cases. Those harmed may file a personal injury claim against the party liable of the injury, such as another driver if the injury is related to a car accident or a property owner if the injury is related to a slip and fall.

One of the specialties that the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz has, is in helping people who have suffered brain injuries. To get legal help for yourself or a loved one after brain trauma, call 303-300-5060 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who will review your case.