Introduction. Patients recovering from head trauma, whether or not they exhibit signs of frontal syndrome, often behave irresponsibly, and the problem of their moral and legal responsibility for their actions arises very often. To date, however, this issue has not been systematically addressed in the literature.
Case reports. The present study is a case study of three patients, all physicians of different specialties who suffered head injuries resulting in coma. Standard neuropsychological texts administered before and after rehabilitation indicate improvement in all tested cognitive functions and resolution of frontal symptoms. However, despite their efforts none of these patients bas been able to return to professional work as a physician, and their personal lives are in disarray.
Discussion and conclusions. The problem of responsibility is inseparable from the problem of personality and disturbances in personality caused by disability, especially brain damage. The irresponsible behavior exhibited by these patients can be traced to pre-existing character traits which are differently expressed after the head injury. The article suggests a new approach to understanding the interrelationship of such complex concept as personality, character morality, and responsibility in the case of a person who has suffered organic impairment of brain function.
ICID 492626 PMID 18034104 - click here to show this article in PubMed