Last summer, a 14-year-old boy from Berwick and his 16-year-old sister were passengers in the back seat of their father’s vehicle. They were headed for a camping trip for Father’s Day. Suddenly, while on a highway in Hampton, NH, another driver rear-ended them. The impact was severe. The driver had been distracted.
The girl suffered serious head and neck injuries, and the boy suffered severe head injuries. Doctors told the children’s mother he “wasn’t hopeful.” The boy had to undergo an emergency craniectomy, removing part of his skull to relieve the swelling. The teen who struck them, meanwhile, was charged with following too closely. He told WCSH-6 recently that he thinks about the crash every day, wishing he could go back and make different choices. He was just a kid, he said, and it was all a “complete accident.”
That doesn’t change the fact that the 14-year-old he hit is now in a state described as “minimally conscious.” He is unable to walk, talk, or eat on his own. No one is able to say when he will recover or if he will ever recover. All of his hopes and dreams and aspirations are, in all likelihood, dashed because someone took a moment to look at their radio. He now requires nurses, home health aides, and physical therapists. He is unable to communicate.
An impact to the brain can cause some of the most catastrophic injuries. Those who survive may be disabled for the rest of their lives. But it’s important to remember also that brain injuries aren’t necessarily always glaringly obvious either.
In a recent editorial for the Bangor Daily News, one brain injury victim wrote about how a brain injury she suffered as a college athlete continues to haunt her in ways that are sometimes not clear to those around her. She sustained the injury playing soccer when another player’s knee struck her chin. She was dazed. Her tongue swelled. The athletic director at her school told her she didn’t have a concussion because he would recognize it. Her parents, a thousand miles away, were both former EMTs and urged her to seek a second opinion. She was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. It took her months to recover. In all of her classes, she had to take incomplete grades that semester. Her doctors now estimate that was likely her eighth concussion.
She largely recovered from those injuries. But what she realized years later, as her 31-year-old husband was dying of terminal brain cancer, is that there is no brain injury advocacy organization in Maine. He suffered repeated brain injuries due to his surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapies. She described it as “extremely isolating.” She noted rightly that brain injuries can often be “invisible,” not as obvious as a broken arm or leg, for which crutches might give away the obvious signs of injury.
The Brain Injury Association of America reports someone suffers a traumatic brain injury in the U.S. every 10 seconds. Following one brain injury, the risk of another is three times greater. After the second, it’s eight times greater. Acquired brain injuries are the second-most prevalent disability in the U.S., affecting nearly 14 million Americans.
Our experienced Bangor injury lawyers are committed to helping those who have suffered brain injuries.
If you are a victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Berwick mother shares life-changing impact of distracted driving, March 22, 2017, By Chris Costa, WCSH
More Blog Entries:
Maine Pedestrian Accidents Often Result in Serious Injuries, March 9, 2017, Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Blog