Articles Posted in Brain Damage

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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Anytime, Anywhere – Brain Injuries Do Not Discriminate. Did you know that 2.4 million people sustain brain injuries in the U.S. each year? An injury that happens in an instant can bring a lifetime of physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges. Early access to good care will greatly increase overall quality of life.

“Brain Injury Awareness Month honors the millions of people with brain injury, who with proper acute care, therapeutic rehabilitation and adequate long-term supports, are living with the successes and challenges that each day brings,” said Susan H. Connors, president/CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America. “Our goals are to continue to sustain and bolster brain injury programs, increase access to care and preserve vital brain injury research.”

Here are some startling brain injury facts:

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Miami, Florida – Drowning is the number one cause of death among children in Miami-Dade County. With Summer approaching, more children will be in or near swimming pools, at beaches, water parks and lakes. This increased exposure to water coincides with an increase in the number of drownings. For this reason, it is extremely important that children are taught about water safety.

The Miami-Dade Fire Department has responded to 199 drownings since January 2007. Most of those involved children under 16 years old and 32% involved children under 5 years old. In Miami, most drowning incidents occur between 11:00am and 6:00pm peaking between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The majority of Miami drownings and near drownings occur in the Summer months from May through August. MDFR has already responded to 11 drowning incidents just since January of 2009.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has prepared the following list of Summer Safety Tips to help keep our children safe:

• Always think of the ocean, lakes and your pool as dangerous places.
• Always directly supervise children when they are in a pool or around any body of water. Young children can drown in just a few inches of standing water. Bathtubs and large buckets also pose a threat. Most childhood drownings occur without an adult immediately present.
• Keep a phone at poolside so you don’t have to leave the kids to answer the phone and so you can call 9-1-1 immediately in case of an emergency.
• Never assume that swimming lessons or flotation devices can completely protect a child from drowning. Don’t have a false sense of security!
• Install alarms on all doors that lead into a pool area so you will know if a door to the pool has been opened.
• Secure long hair to the head, braid it, or cover it with a cap. Long hair can get suctioned into defective pool drains and vacuum lines.
• Make sure that all family members learn how to swim and what to do if they see someone in trouble in the water.
• Have your family members learn CPR. Drowning victims have a better chance of surviving if they get assistance right away.
• Know and comply with the Florida and Miami-Dade County statutes for pool fencing and pool safety. Pool fencing has been proven to save the lives of many children.
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Clearwater, Florida – Nick Bollea was released from Jail after causing a serious Central Florida car accident which left his friend with a traumatic brain injury – often referred to as a TBI.

Bollea is the son of famous wrestler Hulk Hogan. He was jailed last year after crashing his father’s car. This Clearwater car accident made headlines because of the celebrity status of Bollea’s father, but each year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in preventable Florida car accidents as a result of negligence.

Hopefully this tragic automobile accident will focus more attention on the problem and on prevention.

Nick Bollea was released from the Pinellas County Jail early this week after serving five months. He originally plead no contest to causing the crash.

Bollea was facing the possibility of serving up to five years in prison, but the victim’s family requested a more lenient sentence.
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Tampa, Florida – A Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer filed a lawsuit against University Community Hospital in Carrollwood for malpractice last month. The circumstances surrounding this case are anything but typical.

Robin Lumley, childless arrived at the hospital’s emergency room 2 1/2 years ago complaining of terrible pain in her abdomen.

ER nurses documented her complaints and a doctor ordered tests. Lumley asked to use the restroom and the hospital staff let her go.

A short time later, the hospital’s medical staff found that she had delivered a baby girl into the toilet.

The lawsuit alleges that Lumley, 46, didn’t know she was pregnant.

Lumley’s lawyer, however, claims the medical staff should have. Because they failed to recognize obvious signs and symptoms of labor, he says, Lumley’s baby nearly drowned.

The lawyer sued the hospital contending that baby Brianna Rose Lumley went into respiratory arrest which resulted in hypoxic brain damage due to the near drowning and sub-standard medical treatment.

According to the lawyer, the law suit was filed on the child’s behalf, not the mother’s. If it is successful, Robin Lumley won’t get a dime. All of the money recovered in the Florida medical malpractice case would be allocated to pay for the baby’s medical care.

The hospital refused to comment on the pending litigation.

According to caregivers, baby Brianna is just starting to speak and while she has had physical therapy to strengthen her limbs, she will likely face more physical and cognitive challenges.

The lawsuit also alleges that a doctor ordered a pregnancy test, but that test was never performed.

While near drowning incidents rarely occur in a hospital, the consequences are almost always tragic. Hypoxic brain damage – caused by partial deprivation of oxygen to the brain, and anoxic brain damage – caused by total deprivation of oxygen to the brain, are common problems following a near drowning. This type of brain injury is also commonly the result of malpractice. See my earlier post “Miami, Florida – Brain Damage Due To Cerebral Anoxia / Hypoxia Can Result From Medical Malpractice“.

Although this particular occurrence may be unusual in the hospital setting, medical malpractice is not. Unfortunately, many families suffer as a result of Florida medical malpractice.
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Florida Keys – Key West resident Timothy Prigge and Santiago Adames were injured in a Marathon car accident in the northbound lane of U.S. 1, known locally as Overseas Highway. The September 11th wreck occurred on the Long Key Bridge just to the north of Marathon.

Both Adames and Prigge suffered serious injuries in the crash and were airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Two passengers in the car driven by Prigge, Elizabeth Coats, 43, and a toddler were transported to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier.

As a result of the Florida Keys car accident, two restaurants in the Keys have closed temporarily. Santiago Adames ownes two Miami Subs restaurants, one in Marathon and one in Tavernier. The restaurants will remain closed while Adames recovers from injuries he sustained in the head-on collision that has left him unable to speak or walk.

Liliam Guzman, Adames’ wife, closed both restaurants on Monday.

Apparantly, Adames, 42, was attempting to pass a car in the northbound lane of U.S. 1 on Sept. 11 when he crashed head-on into the vehicle driven by Timothy Prigge of Key West.

Prigge nearly had to have his right foot amputated and has bruised lungs from his seat belt. Coats suffered shattered bones in her foot and several broken ribs. The toddler, an 18 month old girl, sustained a burn injury on her neck from the airbag and abrasions to the cornea in her right eye.

While the full extent of Adames’ injuries are not yet known, he is said to be battling infections in some internal organs and may have suffered a Florida traumatic brain injury (TBI) as evidenced by two blood clots on his brain. A TBI is always a concern when someone has suffered a head injury like this.

Overseas Highway which spans the Florida Keys from Key West to Key Largo, is a dangerous road and is often the site of serious car accidents. The road is long and narrow with very few places where it is safe to pass.
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Jackson County, Florida – 63 year old Lillie Conyers of Crestview, Florida was seriously injured in a truck accident on I-10 Monday morning in Jackson County.

Also injured was 39 year old James Conyers, also of Crestview.

According to Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Lillie Conyers was driving westbound on Interstate 10 and struck a semi that had overturned in front of her. The Conyers were transported to the Jackson Hospital for emergency medical treatment.

The 2006 tractor-trailer had also been traveling westbound on I-10 when it left the roadway. The truck driver, 29 year old Michael Dufur of Ocala, Florida, over-corrected causing the truck to overturn blocking all of the westbound lanes of I-10.

Dufur and his passenger 36 year old Guertho Lemorin of Tampa, Florida, received only minor injuries in the crash.

Too often, truck drivers like Dufur are pressured by the trucking companies they work for to drive longer hours than Federal Regulations allow. When that happens, truck drivers are forced to drive 80,000 pound tractor trailers on our roadways while they are fatigued and, at times, inattentive. Fatigue one of the most common causes of truck accidents.
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DAVENPORT – The mother and father of a young woman who was killed in a truck accident on U.S. 27 earlier this year were among the more than 30 Polk County residents, law enforcement officials, state highway planners and county leaders who met to form a task force that will focus on making US 27 safer.

“I would gladly give everything I have not to be here,” Russell Hurd told the group Tuesday night at Polk Outpost 27, a visitors’ center just south of Interstate 4 on US 27, the road some locals refer to as “Bloody 27.”

26 year old Heather Hurd lost her life when an inattentive (or sleeping) tractor-trailer driver rear ended several cars and another truck that were stopped at a red light at U.S. 27 and Sand Mine Road.

Two people were killed and several others were injured in the accident.

“I don’t want any family to feel what my wife and I feel,” Hurd said. “I want them to fix what’s wrong with those 15 miles of the highway.”

Hurd was referring to the heavily traveled section of US 27 between Haines City and the Polk/Lake county line to the north.

The meeting was hosted by the Polk Transportation Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation and was intended to be the organizational meeting for a task force of residents and officials created to identify immediate or short-term solutions to the highway’s problems.

While long-range plans are already on the table, they are not expected to be in place for several years.
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Miami, Florida – Cerebral anoxia and hypoxia are terms used to refer to a deprivation of oxygen supply to the brain. Cerebral anoxia refers to a complete absence of oxygen while cerebral hypoxia refers to a dangerous diminution of oxygen supply to this vital organ. Either can can lead to severe, irreversible brain damage characterized by the terms “anoxic brain damage” or “hypoxic brain damage.” Either condition can be the result of medical malpractice.

There are numerous causes of cerebral anoxia or hypoxia. Some examples include:

1). Injuries during birth/delivery (medical malpractice),
2). Compression of the trachea (sometimes the result of medical malpractice),
3). Complications of general anesthesia (often the result of medical malpractice),
4). Drug overdose (often the result of pharmacy negligence or medical malpractice),
5). Asphyxiation caused by ventilator/respirator failure or misuse (sometimes the result of
medical malpractice),
6). Inadequate perfusion on heart/lung machine during coronary artery bypass graft
surgery (CABG) (usually the result of negligence or medical malpractice),
7). Surgical errors,
8). Failure to monitor and treat severe hypotension (very low blood pressure) (usually the
result of medical malpractice),
9). Accidental Drowning or near drowning,
10). Asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation,
11). Strangulation,
12). Cardiac arrest (when the heart stops pumping),
13). Carbon monoxide poisoning,
14). High altitudes,
15). Choking, and;
16). Diseases that paralyze the respiratory muscles

The cells that make up the human brain are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation. Some brain cells actually start to die within the first 5 minutes after their oxygen supply is interrupted. As a result, brain anoxia/hypoxia can lead to death or severe brain damage very quickly.

Brain hypoxia and anoxia are medical emergencies and must be treated immediately. The sooner medical attention is received and the oxygen supply to the brain restored, the better the chances of avoiding severe brain damage or death.

Hypoxia can be mild or severe (anoxia). In mild cases, inattentiveness, poor judgment, and uncoordinated movement may result. In severe cases, the results can include seizures, coma and brain death.

In cases where the brain is deprived of oxygen for only a short time and a coma results, it may be completely or partially reversible, depending on the extent of injury.

Cerebral anoxia/hypoxia is treated in different ways depending on what caused it. In every instance, basic life-support must be ensured.

The outlook or prognosis depends on the extent of the brain injury which, in turn, depends on how long the period of oxygen deprivation lasted. The patients who experience the best recoveries will have been deprived of oxygen for a short period of time.

Conversely, the prognosis is usually poor for those persons who were oxygen deprived for a longer period of time. Even a few minutes is considered a long time for the brain to be without oxygen.

When cerebral anoxia/hypoxia occurs as the result of medical malpractice, the patient or her family members are often not aware that oxygen loss to the brain has occurred. Symptoms to look out for include behavioral changes, cognitive or physical impairment, inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in motor coordination among other warning signs.

Victims of cerebral anoxia/hypoxia, particularly infants and children, can be left with a permanent disability. It is critical for these individuals to receive extensive and continuous support from family, friends and specialists in treating brain damage and in providing neuro-rehabilitation.
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Miami, Florida – When large commercial trucks crash, the accidents are rarely “minor fender benders” and the results are often catastrophic. With over 8 million trucks on the road, accidents involving these vehicles are a fact of life.

But the chances of a truck accident occurring, especially a fatal truck accident, are higher in Florida than almost any other state and higher in the Miami area than in all but two other locations in Florida. Florida ranks third in the nation in fatal truck accidents. Only Texas and California have more.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a disproportionate number of truck accidents occur in just three areas of Florida:

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Central Florida – Florida personal injury lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of John Graziano, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident last August.

The defendants – wrestling superstar, Hulk Hogan and his family. Graziano’s parents are suing Hogan under Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine” which holds the owner of an automobile vicariously responsible for the negligent operation of that vehicle.

Experienced Florida personal injury lawyers know how to use Florida’s laws to achieve substantial compensation for their seriously injured clients.

Hogan’s son, Nick Bollea, was driving a car registered in his father’s name at the time of the crash.

The August 2007 auto accident (see my post on March 13th about this crash) left Bollea’s friend, Graziano with permanent brain damage and other serious injuries that will require daily nursing care for the rest of his life.

Bollea faces charges of reckless driving involving serious bodily injury. He will be tried on these charges next month.

The Graziano family filed a lawsuit against Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), his wife Linda and son Nick, charging them with negligence.
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