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This is the 4th out of 6 in this series of “5 things criminal attorneys should know about…” which I first posted a few years ago. Each month I highlight some areas of medicine that often cross into the criminal fields. This is not meant to be an in-depth review, but rather just bullet pointed facts. If you have any subject requests let me know!

For this month we’re going to highlight Loss of Consciousness (LOC). Loss of consciousness comes up in several types of cases and is often the focus of a GBI/SBI charge. Educating attorneys and juries alike is important in understanding the significance of a loss of consciousness. So here are 5 facts every criminal attorney should know about LOC:

  • There are 100’s of causes including:
    • Alcohol or drug intoxication/overdose
    • Seizures
    • Diabetes
    • Trauma
    • Infection
    • Psychogenic (i.e. panic attack)
    • Stroke
    • Dehydration
    • Heart arrhythmia
  • The medical term for transient loss of consciousness (passing out) is “syncope.”
  • LOC can occur without warning, or person may have symptoms that allude to the cause.
  • Amnesia is an indicator of loss of consciousness, even if the person doesn’t think they lost consciousness i.e. “I don’t think I passed out, but I don’t remember what happened.”
  • LOC is not required for a concussion to be diagnosed.

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