June 23, 2016

Chicago Offers Settlement in Wrongful Death of Teen

by Levin & Perconti

Coming on the heels of two high profile settlements from the City of Chicago, the mayor’s administration has reached another potential settlement in the 2013 death of a 17-year-old. According to an article from the Chicago Tribune, this settlement proposal was reached less than two weeks before the scheduled trial on the incident, and still needs to be approved by the Chicago City Council.

The Situation

The incident that resulted in the fatal shooting began on January 7, 2013 around 1:30 p.m. when the victim and two friends beat and robbed a man inside the man’s car after negotiating whether or not they would purchase cell phone service from the man. After this, the victim left by himself in the man’s car. After observing the man’s car roll through a stop sign at Essex Avenue and 75th Street, police ran the vehicle’s license plates. The plates originally came back clean, presumably because the incident had not yet been reported. However, shortly thereafter, a call came over the police radio indicating that a carjacking had taken place and the vehicle that officers had seen roll through the stop sign had been involved. The police officers that had observed the vehicle rolling through the stop sign caught up with the vehicle and as soon as police officers stepped out of their vehicle, which was unmarked according to records, the 17-year-old left the stolen vehicle and police officers began pursuing him.

According to statements from the police officers, the 17-year-old had pointed an object that looked like a gun at one of the officers. However, that object later turned out to be a black cell phone box. As the 17-year-old fled from police officers on foot, one of the officers assumed a shooting stance on the sidewalk near where other people were also walking. After striking the 17-year-old in his side, a shot that pierced the victim’s heart and lodged in his spine, the 17-year-old rounded a corner and collapsed on the sidewalk. As officers caught up with the 17-year-old, he reportedly told officers, “I give up. I’m shot.” One of the officers cuffed the young man and placed a foot on his back while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Initially, the officer who fired the fatal shot had remained on active duty until recently. The article indicates that the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended and is performing non-operational duties within the Chicago Police Department. The family’s attorney was unable to provide specific details as to the settlement itself because it has yet to be approved by the city, and a spokesperson for the city’s law department did not comment on the case.

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June 16, 2016

Epilepsy as a Result of Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The epileptic patient will exhibit recurring bouts of sensory disturbances, possible loss of consciousness and convulsions or spasms also known as seizures. For the most part, the cause of epilepsy in two out of three patients is unknown. Medical science has been able to diagnose the disorder but unless there is some medical condition that can be pointed to as having caused the disorder, healthcare providers continue to remain in the dark. With that said, however, those known causes can be diagnosed when an individual presents to his healthcare provider with epileptic symptoms, who previously had a healthy functioning brain, but has now developed recurrent seizures after suffering from some form of illness such as a brain tumor, stroke, or some type of head injury resulting in brain trauma.

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy vs. Post-Traumatic Seizures

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June 9, 2016

$9 Million Verdict in Fatal Medical Malpractice Suit

by Levin & Perconti

In 2010, a mother of five children was experiencing a sixth pregnancy, but this pregnancy came with an elevated risk level because the mother was 40. Feeling ill and complaining of shortness of breath, she went to a Chicago hospital where her doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia. Expecting the hospital visit to improve her condition, the mother didn’t realize the missteps of her caregivers during and after her admission. Unfortunately, those missteps resulted in the mother’s death as well as the death of her unborn child, according to a federal jury.

The Chicago Tribune article detailing the outcome of the lawsuit and the events leading up to it indicate that the victim’s doctor failed to admit the victim to intensive care after the pneumonia diagnosis. The victim had instead been placed in a regular room, and reported to a nurse that her condition was deteriorating. According to the article’s representation of the suit, the nurse in question attempted to contact the victim’s doctor twice. When both attempts were unsuccessful, the nurse allowed the victim to remain in the regular hospital room instead of having the victim transferred to the emergency room. Shortly thereafter, the victim was found unresponsive in her hospital room. Doctors attempted to revive the victim, but were unsuccessful. Doctors then performed an emergency cesarean section to try and save the baby, but the attempts were unsuccessful and the baby was pronounced dead after roughly 20 minutes were spent trying to revive him.

The Lawsuit and Verdict

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June 9, 2016

Unsportsmanlike Behavior Can Lead to Trauma Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

The name of any game is to win in a sportsmanlike manner. This applies to any sports whether it is baseball, football, hockey and lacrosse. Children’s involvement in any type of sports activity should always be prefaced with this admonition.

Take the game of lacrosse. It is a fast paced, highly competitive sport that is growing in popularity, in high schools and colleges across the nation. But like any sports activity, it is fraught with danger and risks of injury to its players. Injuries to the legs are common, as well as head injuries.

The rules of the game for lacrosse players are substantially different for boys and girls. Boy’s lacrosse is classified as a “contact” sport, meaning that because a higher level of player contact is allowed, the boys are required to wear protective gear including padding, facemasks, mouthguards and helmets. Girl’s lacrosse on the other hand is considered a “non-contact” sport, and although the players are not required to wear protective gear, there is still a risk of injury to the players.

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June 2, 2016

Living With Traumatic Brain Injury as the Sufferer or the Caregiver

by Levin & Perconti

There is no more debilitating, life altering injury that can happen to an individual or to that individual’s loved one than a traumatic brain injury (TBI) severe enough to alter the emotional and physical makeup of the injured person. It is debilitating because the sufferer is left without any cognitive ability, any memory or the use of normal body functions, as well as the ability to communicate. It is life altering because, for the rest of their natural life, someone else will have to do everything for them. Every day in the life of an individual suffering from debilitating TBI is a day without sunshine, especially for his or her family members. The brain is at the center of everything we do, or everything we are capable of doing. TBI, if severe enough, will stop the brain from functioning at a level that will allow an individual to think and respond to his environment in a meaningful way.

A recent article posted in brainline.org gives insight into some of the trials facing a family when a member of that family is suffering from some form of TBI. The mother of a young boy suffering from TBI as the result of being struck by a car while riding his bike gives an account of the suffering that her son, and her family has gone through for the last ten years after the accident. Her son was 13 years old at the time of his injury; he is now 23 years old. The family’s coping skills has allowed them to provide loving care for their invalid son, while keeping the family unit together, even so, the pain continues unabated.

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May 26, 2016

Brain Injuries From Horseback Riding May be More Prevalent that Contact Sports Brain Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are serious and life transforming incidents. A brain injury can lead to brain damage or death. Some life threatening injuries, even though they do not end in death, may result in disabilities that inhibit the sufferer from performing the minimal tasks required for life sustaining functions.

Researchers have determined that certain sports activities are a major culprit when it comes to causing head injuries. Brain injuries are usually thought to occur mainly with such sports as football, soccer, boxing, rugby, skiing, etc., and any other contact sport. Surprisingly, however, equestrian sports have been found time and again to be one of the highest at risk sports for serious head injuries.

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May 19, 2016

Our Children and Concussion Injuries, Mild to Moderate to Severe

by Levin & Perconti

Concussion type brain injuries is one of the leading causes of death and disability in children and adolescents between the ages from newborn up to four years of age, and from fifteen to nineteen. Concussion injuries are usually temporary if mild or moderate, and the child may recover completely from the effects within a few days but, however, multiple head injuries no matter how mild, can lead to lasting health related problems making a full recovery problematic, and can lead eventually to brain damage and long lasting disabilities. If your child receives a head injury, no matter how slight it may appear, there should be some concern. A healthcare provider should examine the child as soon as possible to make sure that the injury is not more serious that you may suspect.

Be Vigilant of Adolescent Contact Sports and Children Playground Head Injuries

A major contributor to brain injuries in adolescents appears to be contact sports, i.e., football, soccer, etc. Studies also show that one of the main contributors to brain injury in young children up to four years of age, is playground accidents and injuries. Who would have thought that playground monkey bars and swings would be a dangerous instrumentality for our children? We all remember playing on the monkey bars, it is as American as apple pie, but it is now presenting a health issue for our children. While these incidents may usually be mild, any concussion should not be taken lightly.

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May 12, 2016

Can a Brain That Has Been Injured, be Healed?

by Levin & Perconti

Brain tissue that has been injured leading to brain damage cannot be repaired; however, the brain itself may be healed somewhat depending upon the severity of the injury and whether the sufferer received immediate medical attention after the injury.

Whether the head injury was as a result of a brain aneurysm leading to a stroke, a concussion type injury, criminal assaults leading to injury, auto accident or slip and falls, such injuries should never be taken lightly. Early medical treatment may increase the chances of the sufferer’s recovery.

The Brain is the Center of our Individual Universe

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May 5, 2016

Who Decides to Pull the Plug on a Patient When There Appears to Be No Hope?

by Levin & Perconti

Many of us believe that death of an individual is when the individual’s heart stops or when they stop breathing. However, life support systems can keep the heart and lungs working even after the brain cease to function. Life support systems are mechanical means used to pump the heart and breathe for the patient who cannot do so on his own. If the brain cannot support these systems after the machines are unplugged, than the individual may be considered “clinically” brain dead.

Clinical brain death is the irreversible loss of the brain functions that are necessary to sustain life. When asked what the purpose was for keeping a patient on life support who was medically determined to be clinically brain dead, physicians state that often it is done in order to allow family members time to say their last goodbyes to their loved one, or it may be for the purpose of providing enough time to allow family member to determine if any of the patient’s organs will be donated. See Plain Views for more information on this subject.

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April 28, 2016

Closed Head Brain Injury as Opposed to Open Head Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

There are certain types of head injuries that can cause trauma to the brain with such force that it may result in a fatal injury, or leave the sufferer with some form of brain damage. Closed head brain injuries, often diagnosed as “blunt force trauma” or “shaken baby syndrome” are those types of injuries.

With a closed head type of brain injury, the head is struck by an instrument that does not penetrate the skull, or the head is shaken in such a way that causes the brain to move about the skull in such a violent manner, causing injury. Open head brain injuries, on the other hand, is where an object striking the head penetrates the skull and impacts with the brain, causing damage. The closed head brain injury is the type of brain injury that is considered to be the leading cause of fatal brain trauma in children under four, and accounts for about 75% of an estimated 1.7 million annual brain trauma injuries in the United States. These types of brain injuries range from mild to severe, and can affect the entire brain or only certain portions of it. For more information on closed head brain trauma, see BrainandSpinalCord.org.

The primary causes of closed head brain injuries are auto accidents, slip and falls, assaults where the victim is struck in the head with a blunt instrument, and sports related injuries, to name a few. Slip and fall closed head brain injuries amongst children four years of age and under, and older adults 75 years and older account for about 35% of such injuries, and demographics indicate that boys and men are at a higher risk. Percussion injuries from explosives are also within the category of closed head injuries for veterans returning from war zones.

The following is a list of the certain types of closed head brain trauma that are most common:

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April 13, 2016

The Basics - Brain Injury and Litigation

by Levin & Perconti

After an accident or injury affecting the brain; if a resultant disability or death was caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another, it is quite possible that a civil action will be the next step in the process, second to the immediate medical care and treatment of your injuries. However, with that said, litigation is usually the last resort because it can be a very stressful process.

If the lawsuit is against a healthcare provider due to an incident of an alleged medical malpractice in the care and treatment of the brain injury sufferer, or if it is against another individual because of their alleged negligence or intentional acts, in all probability, an insurance company will be involved in the matter in order to provide a defense for the defendant.

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April 5, 2016

Head Injuries, No Matter How Mild They Appear to be, Should Not be Ignored

by Levin & Perconti

Accidents and injuries involving head trauma, should never be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that at least 1.4 million Americans suffer from some type of brain trauma every year, due to accidents involving injuries to the head, including auto accidents and fall injuries, or the intentional acts of others, including assault and batteries.

Some brain trauma injuries are exasperated during medical procedures performed in a negligent manner after treatment is commenced for the original injury. In some incidents, brain injuries may be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, leaving the injury untreated. But, however, some injuries are not treated because the individual, who has suffered the accident, does not believe there is any reason to be alarm. In such cases, these individuals do not seek medical treatment until it is too late.

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