Articles Posted in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Yesterday, the parents of James Becker filed a $40 million Maryland personal injury lawsuit against the Woodcroft Swim Club and D.R.D. Pool Management Inc. They are accusing the defendants of failing to recognize and respond in timely manner to their son’s near drowning accident on July 29, 2006 and of neglecting to properly resuscitate him.

According to plaintiffs Mary Becker and William J. Becker III, James, then 15, was deprived of adequate oxygen to his brain for approximately 10 minutes. Paramedics arrived at the scene 13 minutes after the teenager was discovered without a pulse. By the time that they could feel James’s pulse, he had already sustained a traumatic brain injury.

The Becker family is seeking $36 million for James, who will require special care for the rest of his life, $3 million for expenses his parents have incurred as a result of his traumatic brain injury, and $1 million for Mary Becker, who experienced the trauma of seeing her son almost drown in the pool.

As close friends and family members continue to mourn movie star Natasha Richardson, questions are beginning to arise as to whether her life could have been saved if she had received medical attention for her traumatic brain injury sooner.

Richardson, 45, passed away on Wednesday—two days after she fell and hit her head while taking a beginner’s ski lesson at a Canadian ski resort. While initial reports indicated that she had been laughing and walking after the accident, new information has surfaced indicating that this may not have been the case.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene to check on her were reportedly turned away. They say, however, that the movie star wasn’t laughing and walking after the accident as was initially reported, but that she was sitting on a stretcher.

It wasn’t until Richardson began complaining of a headache that a second group of paramedics arrived at the scene to take the movie star to a local hospital. While the resort says the ambulance took Richardson away no more than an hour after the first ambulance had driven off, ambulance records indicate that this may have occurred at an even later time and that the actress was not admitted to the hospital until about four hours after she fell. Autopsy results indicate that Richardson died of an epidural hematoma, which involves brain bleeding between the skull and the cover of the brain.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

While some head injuries may seem minor, Richardson’s tragic death is a reminder of how it is so important to get medical attention as soon as possible—especially as some people who hit their heads may appear to be fine at first and then within hours their condition rapidly deteriorates to the point of death.

Symptoms of a possible TBI may include dizziness, nausea, vision problems, balance problems headaches, balance difficulties, sensitivity to light, headaches, problems communicating, and appearing “out of it.”

Richardson’s fall accident on a beginner’s ski slope is also raising the issue of whether it is important for skiers and snowboarders to use helmets.

The movie star leaves behind her husband, film star Liam Neeson, her two sons, Michael, 13, and Daniel, 12, her mother, the legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave, and her sister, actress Joely Richardson.

Richardson Saw Doctors Several Hours After Fall, New York Times, March 20, 2009
Autopsy: Natasha Richardson Died From Bleeding Near Brain,, March 19, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Natasha Richardson: A death in the fullness of life, Roger Ebert, March 20, 2009
Epidural Hematoma,

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In Baltimore County Circuit Court, Judge Susan Souder awarded Sandra Lee Meade $250,000 for personal injuries she sustained in a pedestrian accident in an Arbutus traffic construction zone more than 5 years ago. The amount is part of a high-low agreement made between Meade and general contractor Dick Corp, with a “low” of $250,000 and a “high” of $2 million.

Meade sustained traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries after she was hit by a car while crossing Westland Boulevard, which was undergoing construction, on December 3, 2003. She now lives in a Maryland nursing home.

While police placed the fault for the pedestrian accident with Meade for crossing the street illegally—she tried crossing the street diagonally to catch the bus to work—Meade’s Maryland car accident lawyer accused Dick Corp. of failing to put in place a maintenance of traffic plan. He noted the “willy-nilly” placement of barricades and lines that were incorrectly painted on the road.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 56,000 seniors age 65 and older were hospitalized in 2005 because of traumatic brain injuries sustained in fall accidents. Nearly 8,000 people died as a result of these TBIs. The study results were published in this June’s issue of the Journal of Safety Research.

TBIs were a factor in the 50% of accidental fall deaths and 8% of non-fatal fall-related hospitalizations involving seniors. The older people are, the greater their chances of becoming involved in a fall accident. Poor balance, chronic health issues, loss of sensation in the feet, muscular issues, eyesight problems, vision loss, and medication side effect have been known to contribute to an elderly person getting hurt in a fall accident.

According to CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Director Ileana Arias, while most people worry that older people will break a hip when they fall, traumatic brain injuries are also a serious worry. It doesn’t help that traumatic brain injuries among seniors can easily be misdiagnosed or missed.

Falls are the number one case of injury and death for seniors age 65 and older. 1 out of 3 elderly Americans will get hurt in a fall accident every year. 30% of fall accidents require the victim to seek medical care.

In 2005:
• Almost 16,000 seniors died from fall accidents.
• 1.8 million seniors were seen at hospital ER’s.

• 433,000 seniors involved in fall accidents were hospitalized.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Seniors can be especially prone to injury if the owner of a property or business is negligent and neglects to repair or clean up a hazardous condition that could result in a slip/trip and fall accident.

In Maryland and Washington DC, our slip and fall accident lawyers can determine whether the premise owner/manager could have done more to prevent your fall accident from happening.

Senior Falls Can Lead to Brain Injury,, June 24, 2008
Prevent Brain Injury,

Related Web Resources:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Traumatic Brain Injuries, National Institute of Neurological Disorders

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In California, San Francisco General Hospital has agreed to pay $5.1 million to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a patient who was seriously injured after hospital staff gave him the wrong medication. San Francisco supervisors approved the settlement amount on Tuesday.

According to court documents, John Weatherspoon III, then 40, sought treatment at the hospital for a cough and a fever in 2005. Hospital staff diagnosed him with renal failure and gave him sedatives. Due to the alleged failure of the staff to monitor the doses he received, he suffered cardiorespiratory failure and sustained an anoxic brain injury.

The lawsuit accused the hospital of breach of medical professional. The city has admitted to mishandling Weatherspoon’s case.

Weatherspoon now requires full-time medical attention. The settlement will pay for his medical care for life. He also recently settled a medical malpractice lawsuit with University of California for $250,000. UCSF doctors are among the personnel that work at San Francisco General Hospital.

Wrong Diagnosis

Unfortunately, the wrong diagnosis of a patient’s condition is not an uncommon occurrence. Misdiagnosing a patient’s symptoms can prove fatal—especially when someone is given the wrong medication because the diagnosis was incorrect. Wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnosis can be catastrophic.

In Maryland and Washington D.C., our personal injury lawyers handle serious medical malpractice cases and traumatic brain injury cases. Do not hesitate to contact our Maryland law firm for your free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney or one of our traumatic brain injury lawyers.

$5 million OKd to settle S.F. malpractice case,, April 30, 2008
City Hall Watch: Board backs big settlement in lawsuit,, April 30, 2008

Related Web Resources:

San Francisco General Hospital

Brain Anoxia or Hypoxia,

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