Articles Posted in Fatal Spinal Injury

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One Sunday, plaintiff, then twenty-seven years of age, was returning home from church services with her two children, a daughter then, 3 1/2 years of age and son, then 2 1/2 years of age, accompanied by her mother, then 62 years of age. The group proceeded along Buhrem Avenue in Bronx County and came abreast of defendants’ one-story taxpayer building. At this point, the infant daughter walked ahead, necessitating her mother’s ‘catching up’ to ensure that she did not go near the street. On the top of defendant’s building was a brick parapet approximately seven feet in height and one hundred feet long. This parapet had been observed to be leaning outward toward the sidewalk for a period of at least six months prior to the accident. The falling of this parapet wall occasioned the accident.

A doctor said that, plaintiff testified that she turned around to see how far her mother and son were behind, and heard her son asking for a cookie. Her mother stopped and reached into her bag to get him a cookie. Then plaintiff turned back to her daughter and heard a loud roar. When she turned around, she saw bricks were falling and hit the side of her body. She ran over and saw her mother and son under the bricks. A bystander rushed to aid plaintiff and the fallen victims and through his intervention plaintiff was able to remove her son, who was moaning, from the debris. He took plaintiff and her son to the hospital. Plaintiff, holding her injured son on her lap in the back seat of the vehicle, had for the first time a chance to look at his body. She testified that ‘his legs were hanging off at the sides. He had a little sun suit on, so it was very clear to me what I saw. I went to push his legs back on but I was afraid they would fall off. And as I did so I grabbed his shoes and saw that his ankles were the same way his thighs were’. Plaintiff’s son died on the evening of the same day from cardiac arrest following surgery necessitated by the previous personal injuries he sustained. The personal injuries sustained by plaintiff’s mother were severe, including comminuted compound fractures of the legs, pelvis, and ribs, a severe avulsion laceration of the scalp, and a spinal cord trans-section at about the middle of her back which paralyzed her from that point down. She was conscious with some intermittent periods of unconsciousness, and underwent two operations not under anesthesia. Plaintiff’s mother died as a consequence of her spinal injuries on May 19, 1970.

A Lawyer said that, after trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff’s son’s father as administrator of the deceased infant in the amount of $150,000 for wrongful death and $25,000 for conscious pain and suffering. The trial court reduced the award for wrongful death to $40,000 and for conscious pain and suffering to $5,000. The jury verdict in favor of plaintiff’s father, the surviving spouse o plaintiff’s mother, in his capacity as administrator of her estate in the amount of $75,000 for wrongful death and $25,000 for conscious pain and suffering was not disturbed.

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Many of us have seen them in the air, and hopefully none of us will ever have the need to ride in one, but the helicopter EMS (HEMS) is a service that a person is very grateful is in service. Since most of us have never had the chance to see one of these wings of mercy up close, we thought it would be an experience to take a look at one of the companies that makes sure these helicopters and their crews have the necessary equipment for these flying traumacenters.

One of the largest and most respectable HEMS companies is Air Methods, out of Boulder, CO. Since 1980, the company has supplied products to the aviation industry, and it is one of the largest HEMS operators with about 40 percent of the U.S. market. However, as the rep learned, this is not the only part of their business model. Another part of their business includes making the interiors for the military medevac helicopters, such as the HH-60 Black Hawk, and the General Dynamics Stryker medical evacuation vehicle (MEV). They also developed the SCITS (spinal cord injury transport system) for the U.S. Air Force.

Further, a reporter also discovered that the company not only manufacturers these products, they also have their own engineering staff who designs them. Some of these designs include avionics, mission systems, medical interiors, patient loading systems, and a rather unique floor design that the company says stores blood with minimal spillage. The company with offices in Queens and Staten Island is also a subcontractor to both Sikorsky and General Dynamics. It is also a FAA approved parts manufacturer.

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One of the last requests former NFL player Dave Duerson made before taking his own life was that his brain by studied to help other players suffering from the same depression, memory loss and thoughts of suicide that plagued his life. Duerson took his own life after dealing with years of depression. Duerson wanted researchers to determine if he suffered from chronictraumatic encephalopathy. This disease, which may be caused by concussions, is considered a degenerative disease, which means that it only gets worse over time.

In a recent study, in Long Island and Manhattan, of over 1,000 NFL players, 60 to 70 percent have received at least one concussion during their career. Many former players complain of memory loss, depression and suicidal thoughts similar to Duerson. Some players have committed suicide while others live with painful neurological complications for the rest of their lives. In addition to the number of NFL players who have suffered painful injuries and long-term illnesses resulting from repeated concussions, it has been estimated that 50 high school football players have died or suffered permanent injuries over the past 10 years.

Dr. Daniel Amen, a respected neurologist and host of his own PBS show, says that football players will have to learn how to play the game without causing injuries to the heads of other players. This may mean learning new ways to tackle players. Dr. Amen states that better protective equipment may not fully protect players from concussions and other spinal injuries. He went on to say that while change is never easy, players will have to develop new ways of playing the game. Permanent change occurs when the brain creates new neural pathways. Once these new pathways are created, new habits may be learned.

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Modern medicine has experienced many advancements over the past 100 years. Many of these advancements have come from technology and pharmacological discoveries, while others have come to pass by scientific research and clinical trials. However, as one doctor has learned, many of these discoveries are a result of wartime experiences.

Contrary to many beliefs, both ancient and modern, there is nothing glorious about warfare. The grim truth of the matter is that there are at least two absolute facts about war: #1 In war young men and women die, and #2 There is nothing that anyone can do to change number one except stop the war. For some reason our species seems to have an overwhelming desire to destroy itself. There is however, some good that has come from our experiences in the battlefield. Many new methods to treat fatal spinal cord injuries have been learned by our battlefield experiences and have been transferred over to the civilian world.

One such example of learning such techniques occurred during WWII when many pilots were severely burned. Many of these pilots volunteered to be test subjects for a doctor by the name of Archibald McIndoe who pioneered the use of plastic and reconstructive surgery techniques that are still in use today. A study claims that another such example is that with beginning with the Iraq war and continuing into Afghanistan, the use of improvised explosives devices (IED) are in widespread use and have caused almost countless numbers of head and spinal injuries. Many of the techniques that battlefield doctors and nurses have learned in order to save the lives and limbs of these soldiers are making their way into the civilian medical community.

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A medic provided a 26-year-old Army veteran from Seattle with Vicodin, Dilaudid, and morphine just so he could endure the pain while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, officers have learned. He felt the worst pain in 2003 when he was patrolling the steep hills of eastern Afghanistan. Sometimes, he had to ascend the steep landscape in body armor, pack, and weapons that weighed more than 100 pounds, in total.

“My lower back would just start aching from running up the hills. It would just break me,” said the veteran to a doctor. He gave his statement anonymously.

The problem of drugs to subdue pain caused by heavy gear is all the worse when it comes to patients who also suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and other mental harm from combat. The pain and the drugs combined with the spinal injuries often deepen depression.

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A ten-month old little boy was released from the hospital with a broken neck after the doctors failed to carry out a proper examination. The ten-month old baby was brought to MidCentral Health Palmerston North Hospital after a car accident he and his mother were involved in near their home in Glen Oroua. The paramedic who tended to the baby noted that the baby had a suspected neck injury on his report. When the baby and his mother arrived at the hospital, a junior doctor attended to the baby. The doctor checked the movement of his limbs, and noted severe bruising around his collarbone. He then monitored the boy for 2 hours, and then released him to a caregiver, reports a New York Spinal Injury Lawyer. Theoretically, this situation, in the worst case, could have resulted in a fatal spinal injury.

The boy’s mother sustained injuries that required an extended hospital stay. His father, who had to been away on business, returned home the day after the accident to find his son unable to move his head or cry out. The boys head was lolled over on one side, resting on his collarbone. The father rushed his son to the emergency room, and demanded an X-ray. When the results were sent to Starship Hospital, the doctors ordered a neck brace we put on immediately, and then airlifted the boy to their facility to undergo a MRI procedure.

A New York Spinal Injury Lawyer reported that since that time the ten-month old has underwent three CAT scans, 100 X-rays, two MRI scans and surgery. He had to wear halo traction for three months and a half body cast, and was the youngest child to be placed in halo. Hospitals in The Bronx and Brooklyn watch for these situations and take care to treat them with care.

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It has been estimated that at least 300,000 concussions occur each year among adults and children who play football. A concussion is considered a mild trauma to the brain that can cause permanent damage. While most people who receive a concussion are not rendered unconscious afterwards, they may complain about headaches, dizziness and nausea days later, reports a New York City Spinal Injury Lawyer. About 15% of those who suffer a concussion will blackout. But even if a person does not blackout, it does not mean that damage to the brain has not occurred. As doctors in Nassau and Suffolk County have discovered these injuries can lead to fatal spinal injuries.

According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading neurologist and researcher of brain trauma, has stated that every person who has played football, whether as a child or as an adult, may have some permanent brain damage. Others in the field are beginning to agree with Amen and have started seminars and training sessions for parents so they can better protect their children, states a NY Spinal Injury Lawyer.

Deceased NFL player Dave Duerson was so concerned about the impact of concussions on his fellow players that he had stated he wanted to donate his brain to science after he died so the affects of playing football on the brain may be studied. Many football players in the NFL have received at least one concussion during their high school, college or professional careers. In some cases, players may have received as many as 15 concussions. While the impact of these injuries will require further research, protecting the brain while playing football is a big concern. Wearing the proper equipment, restricting players from participating if they are suffering from a concussion and being able to diagnose a concussion quickly may help reduce the affects of a concussion, or in some cases, save lives.

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Europe’s second-largest oil company, BP Plc., settled one of the five cases set to go to trial last September on the day the trial was to start. The case concerns an explosion that occurred at its Texas Refinery in 2005.

The two sons of a 26-year-old man who killed himself about six weeks after the explosion, settled with the corporation the night before trial was to start. The settlement was for an undisclosed amount, both sides said. That leaves four claims for the first trial.

The March 2005 blast killed 15 and injured hundreds.

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