Monthly Archives: November 2013

Birth injury settlement will help pay for long-term future care

In April 2012, a woman 39 weeks into her pregnancy began to experience severe abdominal pains. She was immediately rushed to County-USC. There, the woman spent 14 hours waiting in the labor and delivery unit. Not once did an obstetrician come by to give her an examination. She was eventually discharged.

The woman remained out of the hospital for only 12 hours before she was again transported to the unit. This time, doctors determined that her uterus had ruptured. Although an emergency C-section was performed, it was too late to prevent the baby from suffering severe brain damage.

As a result of the birth injury, the boy cannot eat or even breathe on his own. He will require long-term care and was placed in a facility that could immediately provide the assistance that he needed. The woman filed a birth injury lawsuit, which Los Angeles County has agreed to settle for $7.5 million.

In this case, the settlement will help provide the necessary funding for this family to stay together. The mother will be able to move herself, the baby boy and her two other young children into a house that is adequate for the injured child. Funds from the settlement will also be scheduled in an annuity that will help provide medical care that the child will need long into the future.

The county’s health services department has received criticism that staff treated this case differently than others due to the fact that the woman was homeless. That may be a separate issue. Although it is easy to focus on this issue, the truth is that many families in California do not have the funds to pay for the care that is necessary in these situations. A medical malpractice trauma can cause serious financial issues for almost anyone.

Settlements and jury awards in these types of situations do compensate individuals for the more intangible losses that they suffer — like a healthy childhood. However, as noted above, there are real measurable financial damages as well, like medical bills, that a civil personal injury lawsuit can help cover.

Source: LA Times, “L.A. County to pay $7.5 million in childbirth malpractice case,” Abby Sewell, Nov. 6, 2013

Recruiting pool for NFL, college could dwindle with TBI concerns

Playing in the National Football League may be considered a job that is envied by California residents and other teens and adults across the country. Have you ever watched a San Francisco 49ers game and thought “I’d give anything to have those talents or that employment contract”?

It takes a talented, extremely athletic and even well-trained individual to rise up through the ranks from youth football to NCAA play in order to even have a chance at a career in the NFL. Although the spots are limited, the NFL relies on youth programs that help build the basic skills necessary for stars to develop. That recruiting pool could get a little smaller over the next several years says a recent ESPN report, and the reason is likely player safety.

We recently wrote a report about brain injuries that are suffered by athletes, and that high school students seem to be particularly at risk for suffering trauma to the head. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” shared statistics that show the number of youth participants is decreasing, and many believe that recent concern over brain injuries is the reason why.

Two nationally recognized youth football programs, Pop Warner and USA Football, both reported recent declines in the number of participants. For Pop Warner, there were 9.5 percent fewer participants in 2012 than there were in 2010. USA Football reported a 6.7 percent decrease in the age range of 6 to 14 in 2011.

Neither group has officially stated that the reason is brain injuries, but it is a likely conclusion. Dr. Julian Bailes, the chief medical officer for Pop Warner even shared his belief that it is the motivating factor. “Unless we deal with these truths, we’re not going to get past the dropping popularity of the sport,” he said.

Those that suffer brain injuries “deal with the truth” of the matter in the most personal way. The truth is that brain injuries occur from all kinds of negligence, whether in contact sports, car accidents or premises liability situations.

Source: Yahoo! “Report: NFL head injuries have led to drastic youth football participation decline,” Anwar S. Richardson, Nov. 14, 2013

Can video games reduce pain for burn injury victims?

Where a serious burn injury has occurred, negligence is often found. Cases range from ones involving a defective electric blanket to fires that have broken out after a car accident or at a commercial building. In other cases, it isn’t flames that can burn the skin but instead it is chemicals.

However they occur, burn injuries can be some of the most painful injury that one can suffer. Researchers focused on these injuries are constantly seeking better ways to not only treat the physical damage but to manage the pain as well. According to some researchers, video games can help.

Evidence presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Pain Society in 2010 showed that virtual reality can affect the brain in such a way that patients report a reduced pain level. In the study, patients reported that their pain levels during video games were lowered by approximately 30 to 50 percent.

How can video games help reduce the pain that burn injury patients experience? Part of the pain managing power of video games is the ability that they have to stimulate the brain, actively diverting the focus away from the sense of pain. To aid in the reduction, games also help the brain release endorphins that can have a numbing effect on pain and are linked to contentment and joy.

Virtual reality may help manage pain, but it doesn’t eliminate the often large medical bills that patients must pay for their treatment. For this, victims in San Francisco can seek assistance from a personal injury attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, “9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You,” Drew Guarini, Nov. 7, 2013

Brain injuries suffered by athletes of all ages

As of late, there has been a lot of discussion around the issue of traumatic brain injuries that occur in contact sports. Much of the focus has been on the professional athletes that play in the National Football League. Although a lawsuit by former NFL players may have prompted the safety discussion, they aren’t the only ones affected by these injuries.

A recent study looked at brain injuries suffered by high school and college athletes. The data showed that there were more reports of high school students suffering concussions than ones involving college athletes. According to the numbers, the highest instances occurred in football, lacrosse, baseball and soccer. When only women were considered, ice hockey had the highest rate.

Dr. Robert Graham was one of the study’s authors. He said that “we have numbers right now, but we don’t have good data.” What Dr. Graham was referring to was the fact that not all injuries are always reported. This means that the reports can be analyzed, but all of the essential data isn’t included, skewing the results.

In this case, he pointed out that on the college level, there may be different feelings surrounding the sport and any possible injuries. At the college level, some athletes may be so devoted to the sport, that they wouldn’t let a “little injury” make them skip a game. In other cases, an athlete may fear that having an injury would result in a sentence of shorter playing time.

Regardless of whether an athlete is playing at the high school or college level in California or anywhere else, there are other issues actually helping cause the injury in the first place. Researchers found that the safety equipment used to protect against head trauma doesn’t live up to its job. Also at play are state laws that set out reporting requirements but that are not enforced.

This study was funded in part by the NFL, and it was released by the Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, an affiliation of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: CNN, “High school athletes found more vulnerable to concussions,” Nadia Kounang, Ot. 31, 2013

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