Reported concussions increased by 58% in statistics reported by the NFL yesterday. But's that's just part of the problem. What about sub-concussive blows and repeated head trauma and the long term brain damage that these injuries cause? Not surprisingly, the NfL doesn't want to discuss this. See my comments in today's NY Daily News.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has announced that Reps. Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, will host Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Included is a brain injury awareness fair with over 50 exhibitors, a Congressional briefing, and a reception to celebrate the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Schedule of Events for Brain Injury Awareness Day 2016
9:00am - 2:00pm Brain Injury Awareness Fair, Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building
2:30pm Congressional Briefing, Capitol Visitors Center
5:00pm - 7:00pm Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month, B338 Rayburn House Office Building
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is pleased to announce that Shana De Caro has been reelected to a three year term to the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America.
Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America is the oldest, largest, non-profit nationwide brain injury advocacy group. Serving as a member of their Board of Directors is an honor recognizing the years Shana has devoted as a dedicated advocate seeking to improve the lives of persons with a brain injury.
Shana’s practice focuses on representing victims of catastrophic injuries, traumatic brain damage, and medical malpractice in federal and state courts across the country.
Shana is a featured speaker throughout the United States in areas of traumatic brain injury, personal injury, and medical malpractice. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association, she also serves as member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, as Secretary and member of the Board of Trustees of the Civil Justice Foundation, and an elected Fellow of the Melvin Belli Society. Shana is the immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.
Shana’s legal work in the field of traumatic brain injury includes publication of a chapter of Psychiatric Clinics of North America special edition on brain injury and the New York Law Journal expert column on traumatic brain injury law.
Her full CV can be viewed here
More information can be obtained about De Caro & Kaplen by visiting their web site brainlaw.
Gratified to be interviewed for special Daily News feature article on “Concussion” movie appearing in Sunday editions of paper. We all need to be diligent and speak out for the 5.2 million Americans suffering from the permanent consequences of traumatic brain injury. All brain injuries are serious and must be treated as such by the NFL, insurance carriers and health providers. Opening Eyes and Minds: Former NFL QB Ray Lucas, CTE activists weigh in on Will Smith’s ‘Concussion’
Shana and I attended an advance screening of the movie Concussion, with a group of sports writers and newscasters. Will Smith gave a compelling performance as Bennet Omalu, and his quest to determine and understand the cause of a specific type of brain damage, later named CTE, first discovered in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Webster. This was Omalu’s movie and his story, based on the 2009 GQ exposé, Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas. This was not a documentary.
The title for the film, “Concussion” is misleading. The film is not about concussions and the failure on the part of the league to inform players about the signs and symptoms of concussions, the need to refrain from returning to play before a player is healed, or the potential life-long consequences of a concussion. It is a film about the work of Bennet Omalu and his efforts to understand Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Importantly the film is based upon a true story, but is not a complete story. It is an excellent presentation of the path Omalu took and the painstaking investigation into the cause Mike Webster’s death. Omalu’s dogged pursuit of answers led to the discovery of the connection between football and brain damage and opened the door to further research. The movie indicated his conflict with the NFL in accepting this information, which the NFL still disputes.
This movie opens the door to a more important conversation, about trauma and brain damage that must continue. The cinematic decisions about the portrayals of different characters and the complete omission of any reference to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston, the past and current role of Commissioner Goodell and the NFL marketing department in deflecting criticism were interesting choices made by the film’s writer and director.
It was a compelling introduction for the public to the health issues generated by trauma in football. This theme must be expanded. If this movie provokes a national conversation about the larger issues associated with all types of brain damage, from football, other sports and everyday accidents, then it has been a great public service. It would be misleading, if however, it leaves the impression that the problems have been remedied or that the only public health concern is CTE. This is the tip of the iceberg of the full-range of chronic life-altering effects of concussions.
Brain injury is a chronic condition with life-long consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year there are over 200,000 visits to emergency departments by children under the age of 19 suffering concussion related problems from organized sports. Omitted from these statistics are visits to urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices, and cases where concussion is not the principal diagnosis. The CDC estimates that the accurate number is between 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports related concussions documented each year! This is a true public health crisis. Labeling a condition does not address treatment issues and how we, as a society, address the impact of a chronic condition that has consequences for families and society.
We applaud the efforts of all those involved in making this important film, and hope it engenders continued investigation and research into not only prevention, but improved identification and treatment options that will assist this vulnerable population.
SHANA DE CARO, ESQ. is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.
MICHAEL V. KAPLEN, ESQ. is a Professorial Lecturer in Law teaching the only course in traumatic brain injury law at The George Washington University Law School, a member and immediate past chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council, three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and a past chair of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.
DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP is a New York based law firm with a focus on representing victims of traumatic brain injury throughout the nation. Shana and Michael are frequently invited to lecture attorneys and public advocacy groups nationwide on the legal issues pertaining to brain injury, public health concerns and the impact of brain injury on the lives of its victims.
Shana and Michael authored the New York Law Journal expert column on brain injury law and the chapter on brain injury law in the special issue of Psychiatric Clinics of North America.
Shana and I are honored to have been invited by Sony Pictures to an advance screening of the movie Concussion next week, which brings to light the NFL’s attempt to conceal the truth about concussion danger from NFL participation. Although this film is based upon revelations concerning CTE, the movie focuses the spotlight on this public health epidemic of brain injuries by revealing just the tip of the iceberg of the devastating injuries sustained by NFL players.
The movie is scheduled to open on Christmas day.
We look forward to sharing our thoughts about the film following the screening.
A concussion is a brain injury. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should know better.
Concussions are no laughing matter. Read my sentiments in this New York Daily News Article.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP Obtain $4.5 Million Dollar Settlement for Stroke Victim in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A New York medical malpractice lawsuit for a stroke victim has resulted in a settlement of $4.5 million dollars because of the legal work performed by New York medical malpractice attorneys Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen.
Our firm achieved a $4.5 million settlement for our client, who at age 63 suffered a massive stroke following improper treatment for his paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and improper treatment at the emergency department of a local hospital.
We established our client was suffering from long standing paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, (AFib), a common heart condition in which the heart periodically deviates from normal rhythm. Frequently a patient with AFib experiences fatigue, heart fluttering, dizziness, chest pain and other signs that alerts him/her of the irregular heartbeat. There is effective medication that can control a patient’s heart rhythm and reduce the risk of stroke. If untreated, however, this condition can cause an accumulation of blood in the heart’s atrial chamber causing increased risk of an embolus (a blood clot that breaks off) and places an individual at a higher risk of a stroke.
Our client was seen by a cardiologist, seeing patients for his own vacationing doctor (who were both part of the same medical group), during an emergency appointment for symptoms of an irregular heartbeat. In the past when he experienced AFib he was placed on a well-known anti-coagulation (blood thinning) medication, Coumadin (also known as Warfarin). On this visit, the cardiologist, ignored his past medical history (including a prior TIA and hypertension), and past successful treatment with Coumadin. This physician negligently determined plaintiff was at a low risk for a stroke and improperly placed the patient on a high dose of aspirin therapy with instructions to schedule a follow up visit one week later.
We established it was medical malpractice not to prescribe Coumadin and instead place our client on aspirin therapy. New York medical malpractice lawyers, Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen also proved that the cardiologist was negligent in not recommending the patient return in two days to follow up and alert the patient’s regular cardiologist of this emergency visit.
One week later, when the patient returned for his scheduled examination by his regular cardiologist he was still in AFib and was immediately placed on Coumadin and sent him home. Our malpractice attorneys proved his treating cardiologist committed malpractice because he failed to recognize that Coumadin would not reach therapeutic (beneficial) levels for several days. Considering his history of one week of AFib, he should have prescribed a rapid action blood thinning medication, Heparin to bridge the gap until Coumadin reached a therapeutic level.
The combined failures of both cardiologists diminished plaintiff’s chances for a better outcome.
Predictably and unfortunately, twenty four hours after this second visit, the plaintiff suffered a stroke in his home and was immediately transported by ambulance to a local hospital certified stroke center. Although emergency department doctors established he was a candidate for the stroke busting agent, tPA, they incorrectly administered an experimental stroke busting medication, Tenecteplase (TNK) generally used for acute myocardial infarction, not stroke.
It is well-known that tPA is the only FDA approved medication for a stroke. The medication works to rapidly dissolve the blood clot that develops in the brain and reduces brain damage that may develop due to impaired blood flow and decreased oxygen reaching brain tissue. Effective treatment requires that tPA be administered within 4 ½ hours after signs of a stroke develop. Plaintiff’s stroke was witnessed by his wife and he arrived at the Emergency Department well within the window of opportunity for treatment. When timely administered, tPA significantly improves the changes for a good outcome. The emergency department doctors committed medical malpractice by ignoring the recommended time for administering tPA to a patient with obvious signs of a stroke who reached the hospital within 4 ½ hours of the stroke’s onset.
After discovery of the medication error, plaintiff was transferred on an emergency basis to a university hospital hoping they would perform an embolectomy, (a surgical procedure sometimes used to mechanically open the blockage in the blood vessel) within the brain causing the stroke. Unfortunately, even after the emergency arrangements were made, the stroke team at the university hospital was not notified for an hour. When they finally arrived a repeat CT study demonstrated the patient’s stroke was too large to perform this embolectomy. It was too late.
Because of his stroke Plaintiff suffered hemiparesis (paralysis) and aphasia (word finding difficulties) requiring full time care at home.
The treating cardiologists contributed their policy limits of $3.5 million dollars; hospital number one contributed $750,000 and hospital number two contributed $250,000 to the final settlement. It was agreed there would be no disclosure of the identities of the parties.
The case was prosecuted by New York personal injury and malpractice attorneys, Shana De Caro, immediate past chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and Michael V. Kaplen, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School.
If you or your loved one suffered injuries because of the careless or negligent conduct of a doctor or hospital, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law firm of De Caro & Kaplen, LLP for a free, no obligation, consultation. Our personal injury attorneys have been representing victims of medical negligence for over 35 years.
The risk of permanent brain damage and CTE far outweighs the benefits of slamming heads in football for our nation's youth. Don't let your kids play football
Former professional football player and TV commentator Frank Gifford, who died in August at age 84, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. The only known cause of this condition is repetitive head trauma. Gifford played in the NFL for 12 years and during that time suffered from repetitive head trauma.
“We as a family made the difficult decision to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury,” Gifford’s family said in a statement released Wednesday.
Although all the details of Frank Gifford’s condition in the last years of his life are not known, the fact that CTE was found on autopsy adds further weight to the mounting evidence that football is a concussion delivery system causing permanent consequences to players. The fact that Gifford and all players diagnosed with this condition past the settlement date in the NFL class action concussion litigation is further proof that the settlement that was reached was unfair and needs to be rejected by the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
The danger of CTE is something that the NFL can no longer hide from all ignore. Players with this condition must be compensated and effective measures must be put in place to reduce to present and future players. It’s time to end the double talk of the NFL and get serious about head injury and brain damage.
The family said it decided to disclose his condition “to honor Frank’s legacy of promoting player safety dating back to his involvement in the formation of the NFL Players Association in the 1950s.”
My partner, Shana De Caro and I authored the amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America arguing against the NFL settlement. We argued to the court that the settlement was junk science and was not a fair or balanced settlement for players suffering from brain damage.
For more information, read the story on ESPN: Hall of Fame player Frank Gifford suffered from CTE, family says.
December is Carbon Monoxide Safety Month It has no color….no taste…no smell. It doesn’t burn your eyes or cause people to cough. However, it can be deadly and is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S.
The poison? It is carbon monoxide or CO, a gas that kills by binding up the hemoglobin in the blood, reducing the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the brain and muscles. Death is related to both the level of CO as well as the duration of exposure. CO is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels (coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas) used in cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, houseboats, portable generators, furnaces, charcoal grills, small engines, salamanders, LP gas heaters, stoves, lanterns, fireplaces, portable flameless catalytic heaters, and gas ranges. Cars left running in attached garages even with the doors open, portable generators in basements vented to an open window or located outside next to a window, and charcoal grills inside tents or homes have all resulted in CO quickly building to lethal levels in enclosed spaces. People and animals can be poisoned. December is National Carbon Monoxide Safety Month. This is fitting as December and January are the peak months for CO poisoning, which results in the unintentional deaths of almost 500 people in the U.S. each year and is responsible for more than 20,000 emergency room visits and greater than 4000 hospitalizations.
Some who survives Carbon Monoxide exposure can face permanent neurological damage. CO affects people differently. Children and adults over 65 years with health problems are particularly vulnerable. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness. These slower developing symptoms can result in death over-time if mistaken for other illnesses.
High level CO poisoning, usually develops rapidly and includes progressively more severe symptoms including mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness and ultimately death. The use of generators in residential spaces can cause this type of high level CO exposure to happen resulting in victims going to sleep and not waking up. This happened to a 16 year-old Buffalo teenager who lost her life sleeping near a malfunctioning basement boiler while at a friend’s house for a sleepover.
Workers are also affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. Workplaces may be weather sealed in winter. While internal combustion machinery such as gasoline or diesel-powered forklifts, air compressors, telehandlers, generators, pressure washers, welding equipment and petroleum-fired machinery produce CO are still being used. Although cold weather and power outages increase the use of risky alternative heating and power sources, carbon monoxide poisoning is not just a winter or storm-related concern. In recent years cases of CO poisoning have also been associated with residential utility shutoffs. This scenario is most prevalent in economically depressed areas and low income household where power disconnection results in families using unsafe means to keep warm or run their refrigerators.
SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT CO POISONING:
- Purchase and install CO alarms. Test them regularly and change the batteries twice yearly. A good time to do this is when you change your clocks to adjust for daylight savings time.
• Ensure that heating systems and appliances are installed and serviced annually by qualified professionals. Chimneys should be checked and cleaned, as needed. When renovating a home or repairing a roof, make sure that tarps or debris do not block vents and chimneys. • Ventilate….ventilate….ventilate. Make sure that all fuel-burning equipment is vented properly. Don’t patch vent pipes in your home, cabin, camper, boat, or workplace with tape or gum
• Remove vehicles from a garage immediately after starting them, even if the garage door is open. If you open the tailgate on a running SUV or similar vehicle, open the vents/windows to ensure air flow and exchange. If only the tailgate is open, CO from the exhaust could be pulled into the vehicle.
• Ensure that vehicle exhaust pipes are not blocked in or after a heavy snowstorm. Make sure vents for the furnace, stove, fireplace and dryer are clear of snow.
• Only operate portable generators or other gasoline-powered equipment, including portable flameless catalytic heaters, OUTSIDE of a home, garage, basement or any enclosed or semi-enclosed space. Position them at least 20 feet from a window, door or vent.
• Increase awareness of symptoms and causes. Many people do not know that certain equipment, such as generators, are dangerous and can produce deadly fumes.
• If symptoms suggest CO poisoning, get to fresh air immediately and call 911.
The brain injury law firm of De Caro & Kaplen, LLP has represented victims of carbon monoxide exposure and can provide legal representation to you or your loved one if a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.
I had the privilege of attending yesterday's oral arguments before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the NFL class action brain injury litigation.
Unfortunately, the appellants concentrated their arguments on CTE and not the junk science of this settlement and the failure on the part of class counsel to properly and adequately represent all players with brain injury. My partner, Shana De Caro and I hope that the court will take note of the arguments we made in our amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America.
here is a link to the article in today's NY Times reporting on the oral arguments that contains some observations from me. Judges Skeptical of Ex-N.F.L. Players’ Appeal Over Head Injury Settlement
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is conducting a survey to better understand
whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is meeting the needs of individuals with
brain injuries. If you have health care coverage through private insurance
provided by your employer or by one of the health care marketplaces or
"exchange,." click here to fill out the survey. The survey is also under news and
announcements on BIAA's website
I will be in Boston, Mass this evening attending the annual awards ceremony for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, formally known as the Sports Legacy Institute. Foundation headed by Chris Nowinski has been instrumental in alerting the public to the dangers of concussion and brain damage in all sports; providing needed education on the signs and symptoms of concussions and most importantly leading efforts to keep players out when there is any suspicion of a concussion. The group through their affiliation with Boston University also has led efforts to understand and appreciate the effects of cumulative brain trauma and its causation to a Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Keep up the great work!
The Future of Brain Injury Rehabilitation-Free Webinar Sponsored by Brain Injury Association of America
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has announced the scheduling of a free webinar to explore challenges in rehabilitation services following a brain injury under managed care medical systems. The webinar will be conducted by Bruce Gans, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and chairman of the board of directors and CEO of the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association.
Details of the webinar are:
More Management/Less Care: What the Future Holds for Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
3:00 p.m. Eastern (12:00 p.m. pacific)
To register for this FREE webinar, click here.
My partner, brain injury attorney, Shana De Caro serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America.
I am honored to be presenting tomorrow at the Brain Injury Symposium sponsored by the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington DC at the Omni Shoreham Hotel beginning at 9 am. My presentation will provide an overview of a brain injury case from the perspective of a brain injury trial attorney. For further information, click here.
The following legislative update has been prepared by the voice of brain injury in the United States, The Brain Injury Association of America(BIAA):
BIAA Meets with Leadership at ACL
As reported in Policy Corner, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell relocated the Federal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) State Grant Program from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL). The move took place on October 1, 2015. HRSA and ACL are working together to make a seamless transition. BIAA's president and CEO, Susan Connors and Amy Colberg, director of government affairs, met with leadership from ACL on Friday, October 23 to discuss the relocation of the Federal TBI State Grant Program, specifically a National plan for brain injury.
Injury Violence and Prevention Meeting
BIAA attended the fall Injury Violence and Prevention (IVPN) Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 22. During the meeting, recent IVPN activities were reviewed and meeting attendees participated in breakout session to plan strategies with policy staff from CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The group worked to identify and prioritize IVPN activities for 2016. BIAA serves on the Injury Violence and Prevention Coalition which meets monthly throughout the year and educates to the Administration and Congress about injury and violence prevention issues and the importance for increased funding.
BIAA Presenting at NASHIA's State of the State Conference
Amy Colberg, BIAA's director of government affairs will be presenting at NASHIA's State of the State Conference, Thursday, October 29 in Denver Colorado. Ms. Colberg will be participating in the This Week in Washington panel at 8:30 am. Please stop by and introduce yourself if you will be attending the NASHIA conference as well.
My partner, Shana De Caro, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America.
Public Broadcasting Network in their news show Front Line reveals new research strongly supporting link between CTE and repetitive head trauma
Pleased to be interviewed on this important subject by International Business Times
The Brain Injury Association of New York State provides certification as a “brain injury specialist” The association administers an examination sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of America and a training class leading up to the exam for applicants. But, time is running out! The registration deadline for the next exam is today, September 14th. The exam is scheduled for November 20, 2014
The registration fee is $500 and includes:
Weekly home study information for the 6 weeks leading up to the class
A detailed training and review of the material
The Essential Brain Injury Study Guide
The proctored CBIS/T examination.
A subscription to the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation (a $148 value)
For more information or to submit you application, telephone Karen Thomas at 518-459-7911.
The Brain Injury Association of New York State is located at 10 Colvin Avenue Albany, NY 12206
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) will be conducting a webinar on implementing brain injury services for school-aged children on:
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
3:00 p.m. eastern/12:00 p.m. (noon) pacific
Cindy Pahr, M.Ed., CBIST, San Diego Unified School District and EduCLIME, L.L.C.
The description provided by BIAA for this webinar is:
Implementing services for school-aged children with brain injuries can be challenging. Through this webinar, attendees will learn about the flow and determination of school placement in various educational settings; discuss strategies to address common challenges faced by students and families in the education setting post-injury; and will be introduced to lessons and activities used to help students assimilate back into their lives.
Click here for more information.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP have been selected as Preferred Attorneys by the Brain Injury Association of America
The Eleventh World Congress on Brain Injury will take place on March 2-5, 2016, at the World Forum Conference Center in the Hague, the Netherlands.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is September 15, 2015.
For more information on abstact submission, click here.
The NY Times reports this evening that they have discovered Wiki leaks showing how the NFL pressured Sony to alter their upcoming film, Concussion which documents the discovery of the link between professional football and the development of CTE. Rad the full article Sony Altered ‘Concussion’ Film to Deter N.F.L. Protests, Emails Show
Unless the NFL is placed under oath, the public will never know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what the NFL knew and when they knew it.
NFL Concussion Litigation: Brain Injury Association of America Files Amicus Brief With Third Circuit Court of Appeals
My partner, Shana De Caro and I are honored to have submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the NFL concussion litigation explaining the science of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the misconceptions inherent and relied upon by the District Court in the settlement agreement.
We hope that the information and authorities we have provided will assist the Court in reexamining the settlement terms in proper context and set the agreement aside in the interest of all retired NFL football players who have sustained brain injury.
Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the oldest, largest, non-profit, nationwide brain injury, advocacy organization. As the leading advocate for all victims of brain injuries, BIAA has an interest in ensuring this settlement fairly considers all brain-injured players for whose benefit this action was commenced. BIAA seeks to provide the Court with unbiased, accurate information regarding consequences of traumatic brain injury and protect the integrity of traumatic brain injury scientific research.
From the amicus brief submitted on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America:
“The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players suffering long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely rewards certain, small, discrete groups. The vast majority of retired football players experiencing physical, emotional, and behavioral impairments following repetitive concussions remain excluded and uncompensated under settlement terms. In the interest of expediency, the District Court relied on self-serving submissions of counsel, which unjustifiably categorized the vast majority of brain injuries as not being “serious” or unrelated to repetitive head trauma, ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the causes and ramifications of traumatic brain injury.”
“The settlement, as approved by the District Court, is faulty in many respects, including but not limited to : 1- failure to consider subtle differences and distinctions of developing brain damage not immediately apparent; 2- omission of mild brain injury; 3- failure to compensate recognized physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive sequelae of concussion; 4- exclusion of well-recognized categories of presumptive brain injury; 5- failure to provide meaningful benefits for cognitive impairment; 6- arbitrary compensation distinctions based upon years of play and age; 7- implicit disregard of overwhelming medical evidence that one concussion can precipitate life-long consequences; 8- an illusory benefit failing to account for required Medicare and Medicaid lien offsets; 9- insurmountable neuropsychological testing criteria; 10- ignoring physical, emotional, and behavioral impairment undetectable by the settlement’s testing protocol; 11- overemphasis on malingering tests; and 12- failure to consider alternate testing modalities, such as diagnostic imaging.”
Shana De Caro, Esq. is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group. Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School teaching the only course on traumatic brain injury law in any US law school and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Shana and Michael are partners in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
On September 16th from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Senate Russell Building, room 485, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) will be co-sponsoring a Senate briefing to discuss S. 849, Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act.
The bill would help advance neurological disease research by establishing a system to collect accurate epidemiological data about individuals afflicted with neurological diseases. Currently, there is no accurate account of how many people in the United States have sustained a brain injury or of the demographic characteristics of those living with disabilities as a result of a brain injury. As a result, brain injury researchers are working at a distinct disadvantage: lacking basic information about the disease.
The following legislative update has been prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation's voice for persons with a brain injury
TBI Stakeholder Meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services
On Tuesday, June 9, BIAA staff and other TBI stakeholders met with leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss elevating the Federal TBI State Grant Program and Protection and Advocacy Program from Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
In the reauthorization of the TBI Act, which was signed into law in November 2014, discretion was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on which agency should administer the program. The TBI stakeholders believe the Administration for Community Living is the proper home for the TBI program because its mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. Individuals who have sustained a TBI need continued supports and services across the lifespan. By elevating the TBI program, stakeholders anticipate State agencies and Protection and Advocacy organizations would be better able to coordinate with and leverage programs and resources at the state and federal levels to improve services to individuals with brain injury and their families.
In addition to the federal agency leaders and staff and stakeholder organizations, Alyssa Penna, legislative director for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, attended the meeting.
Pascrell, Rooney Amendment to Restore $25M to TBI Program Passes House of Representatives
On Wednesday, June 10, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Caucus, to the 2016 Defense Appropriations Act that would restore $25 million from the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research Program. The defense appropriations bill cuts $25 million from the TBI program, representing a decrease of 20% from last year's funding level.
The Psychological Health and TBI Research Program supports the DOD Psychological Health and TBI Center of Excellence in its efforts to educate service members and their families, enhance clinical and management approaches, and facilitate other vital services to best serve the needs of our service members impacted by TBI and psychological health problems. TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation's service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 300,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000, a number that continues to increase as identification and detection methods become more accurate.
National Institutes of Health Names Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
On June 11, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He has served as Acting Director of the NINDS since October, 2014.
In announcing the appointment, Dr. Collins recognized Dr. Koroshetz' role in the creation of the StrokeNet, a national clinical trial network for research in stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery as well as his role as point person for traumatic brain injury research at the NIH, and Co-founder of the NIH-Uniformed Services Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (TBI research center).
Dr. Koroshetz serves as co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. He was instrumental in establishing the NIH Office of Emergency Research. He is the NINDS representative to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; Chair of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the NIH Pain Consortium, and Co-chair of the Common Fund Undiagnosed Disease program.
As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz will oversee an annual budget of $1.6 billion and 1141 scientists, physician-scientists, and research administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 1950, the Institute has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts in brain research, with studies in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and, most recently, the translational research that is helping to bridge the gap.
Before coming to NIH as the NINDS Deputy Director in 2007, Dr. Koroshetz was a Harvard Professor of Neurology, Vice Chair of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care, and a member of the Huntington's disease unit. He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 until 2007. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and in both internal medicine and neurology at MGH, after which he did postdoctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department.
NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
Tractor-trailer bus collisions are among the worst that occur on busy American highways. Because of the relative size of the two vehicles in such a collision, the injuries are catastrophic, often with deadly consequences.
It is essential for anyone injured in such a devastating collision to seek competent legal counsel immediately, to protect his or her rights and the rights of their entire family. Too often people wait to retain counsel, believing that the owners of the bus and tractor-trailer companies will do the right thing. In most cases, the transportation companies and their insurance carriers are at the scene looking for any loophole to escape responsibility. This is why it is essential that victims of these horrific crashes hire the most experienced crash/collision personal injury lawyers to handle their case, attorneys with proven records of accomplishment.
At DeCaro and Kaplen, LLP, our partners have dedicated their lives to representing victims of bus and tractor-trailer crashes. Most recently, our New York personal injury attorneys Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen, in collaboration with New Jersey personal injury lawyers Robert Bratman and Michael Donahue of Stark and Stark, represented an Indian family in the United States for a summer vacation when their tour bus was involved in a violent crash on its way to Niagara Falls The bus left the roadway, rolled over and proceeded into the woods. Our lawyers are founding members of the prestigious interstate bus accident litigation group.
When the tour bus came to a stop, one member of the family was dead and two were seriously injured. Our lawyers quickly filed suit and brought our combined knowledge and experience in this area of litigation to bear in hiring the leading experts in the field of bus and tractor-trailer crashes. Even though these clients lived thousands of miles from the site of the crash and the location of the lawsuit, they were informed at all stages of the legal battle fought on their behalf in the American Courts. Almost two years from the date of this tragic collision, justice was achieved for the Indian family in the form of a multimillion-dollar settlement. The perseverance of the attorneys at De Caro & Kaplen, LLP and Stark and Stark combined as a matchless legal team.
Recent events involving tour bus crashes emphasize the need to retain competent legal counsel without delay, For legal assistance contact the our bus crash attorneys toll free at 1 866 272 4652. Further information on our firm can be obtained at http://brainlaw.com/vehicle-accident-lawyers/ You can email us at Michael@brainlaw.com
The Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) will host its 33rd Annual BIANYS Conference, featuring keynote speaker Gary Busey. Mr. Busey speaks all over the country about the challenges and triumphs of living every day with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Dates: June 4-5, 2015 at the Albany Marriott, Albany, NY
Further information: click here.
On June 4, BIANYS, the association will also present the 2nd annual Professional Symposium, highlighting
research and rehabilitation services for individuals with brain injury which I am honored to co-chair. Learn
from distinguished voices in the field. Information on the professional symposium can be obtained by clicking here.
A study published this week in JAMA Neurology – assessed the brains of 28 retired National Football League (NFL) players who suffered a concussion with loss of consciousness.
The study took brain scans of the players and a control group. The study authors found that the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved with memory was smaller in the athletes who suffered a concussion with loss of consciousness as compared to a control group.
Although an individual can sustain a concussion without any loss of consciousness, this study is an important finding regarding the long term consequences of a concussion where there is a documented loss of consciousness.
When it comes to diagnosing a stroke, there is a medical saying, “Time is Brain.” This should convey that it is crucial to diagnose and treat a stroke as soon as possible to preserve brain function. It is crucial that stroke victims begin appropriate treatment within 3 to 4 ½ hours after the onset of a stroke to have the best chance for a good outcome.
Up to now, patients must be transported to a hospital, have a CT scan performed, have this CT scan read by a competent radiologist and then have tPA medication ordered, usually by a neurologist. Unfortunately, this all takes time and if proper staff is not available at the hospital, critical time is lost.
A report from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) states that researchers have developed a new computer program to detect strokes on CT scans with amazing accuracy. The program can detect whether the patient has an ischemic stroke (blood clot) or a hemorrhagic stroke (bleed).
The report states that the program’s accuracy is 90%, which is similar to the accuracy of medical professional but with the benefit that the computer can make a much faster determination.
Our brain injury law firm has represented many clients who have been victims of medical malpractice because their stroke symptoms were improperly diagnosed or proper treatment was not timely administered.
The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation released a special issue highlighting work from CDC and CDC’s partners to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs. These studies present a clearer picture of TBI in the United States and the progress in the field.
Some key findings include:
• Online Training Effectiveness: CDC and the National Federation of State High School Association’s concussion course online was effective in increasing concussion-related knowledge across a wide range of individuals.
• Sports and Recreation TBI: About 7% of all sports and recreation-related injuries treated in United States emergency departments were TBIs.
• Data Sources: New sources of TBI-related data on emergency department visits and hospitalizations will improve the ability to examine subpopulations most at risk for TBI.
• Unemployment: About 60% of people (ages 16 to 60) who were discharged from inpatient rehabilitation following a TBI between 2001 and 2010 were still unemployed two years after their injury.
• Motorcycle TBI death: Motorcycle crash patients with a TBI were 3 times more likely to die in the emergency department compared to those without a TBI.
You can review the special issue of the Journal by clicking here .