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Domestic Violence and Abuse

Daughter Suffers Serious Concussion

So I am Thomas Harding. I’m a lawyer in Surrey
British Columbia, which is near Vancouver. I have been practicing for about 24 years.
I do personal injury, brain injury cases. This is Gordon Johnson. I’m a personal injury lawyer
from Wisconsin. I focus my entire practice on brain injury. Thomas, I understand your
daughter had a concussion. Yes, this was about 3 years ago. She was riding her horse Monty
in a competition and the grass was wet and the horse slipped, my daughter came off, landed
first on her shoulder then her head. She was knocked out. She laid on the ground on her
belly for a few moments and she had a convulsion or seizure and she rolled completely over
to her back and had a fairly rigid, arms down by her side posture. Because I do brain injury
cases I was very concerned as you can imagine. Her mother was concerned. We went running
out to her watching this convulsion happen and the flip over. It was lucky that the competition
was ten blocks from the best children’s hospital in British Columbia. So we just bundled her
in the car and took her there directly rather than wait for an ambulance. The whole route
she kept asking where we were and why we were going to the hospital because we would answer
with we are going to the hospital. She couldn’t remember what day it was or why she was there.We
got to the hospital and before I could even finish checking her in the pediatric neurologist
already had her in an examining room and was doing a full exam. So that was great and then
I went in and started talking to the doctor about what had happened. Now you are a lawyer that
does a lot of brain injury work. How is it that you are able to assure the best care
for your daughter because of your background? Or experience with this? So the first thing
I didn’t want to do is be hysterical because that wouldn’t help. I wanted to give the doctor
as much information as I could in a way that would be useful to her. So I was talking to
her and the admissions nurse before. Using all the proper medical vocabulary. The timing
of that she actually struck her head that we saw her strike her head that she had some
pre-trauma amnesia. She couldn’t remember the last couple of jumps before this had happened.
She had post-trauma amnesia. She couldn’t remember the drive that took us ten minutes
or so and she couldn’t remember the drive itself. She kept asking the same questions
which was obviously confusion. But she kept telling us the same thing also so that’s called
perseveration And I was using all the proper vocabulary and telling the doctor the things
that she would need to know to make a better diagnosis. And so I thought that helped. Your
daughter how has her recovery been? Oh shes great. Partly because of what I do I had access
personally to kind of all the top brain injury doctors in the Province so I was on the phone
before we even left the hospital asking them what is the next thing to do. Not letting
her watch TV or use a computer or a smart phone. Keeping her in the dark, lights out.
Rest as much as possible. Nourishment. You know checking on her and asking her questions
and stuff. How old is she when she gets hurt. She’s about sixteen, fifteen and a half, sixteen.
She’s eighteen now? Almost eighteen just coming up. In terms of a concussion what you’re describing
is a relatively serious concussion. Well it would be because of the length of her unconsciousness.
A lot of concussions there is no obvious unconsciousness. You know the hockey player
the football player gets his bell rung. They aren’t obviously unconscious. They may be
confused at the scene. But she was out. She was completely non responsive. She
also had a seizure? Yes, she had that one seizure from going on her belly to flipping
over on her back. Which is unusual and tends to mean a worst outcome. She had what we would
call retrograde amnesia event before she got hurt. Yes, exactly. And she continued to have
some amnesia afterwards. Which we call anterograde amnesia. Or post traumatic amnesia. PTA as
its sometimes called. All of those things would push her into perhaps even a complicated
mild category? Could. Depending on the outcome. Because it is always about outcome. Where was it that you started
to feel like her outcome was positive? So we monitored her pretty carefully she wasn’t
allowed to do anything in the physical accept go to the bathroom for a week. She had to
be kept in a dark room. Reclining, nothing that would raise her heart rate to put more
pressure, blood pressure on her brain. We, I forget now what vitamins that were a good
idea. She wasn’t severe enough that it made sense to give her female hormones or birth
control pills which is sometimes good for bad injuries. And we were essentially testing
her every few days and as time went on. Sent her for a neuropsych work up with a psychiatrist
I know who specializes in brain injuries.

Cesar Sullivan

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