July 23, 2016

New Study Links Traumatic Brain Injury with Parkinson’s Disease Later in Life

by Levin & Perconti

According to a recap published on Medscape that discussed the results of a recent study, traumatic brain injuries are not associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease later in life but are instead linked to the development of Parkinson’s Disease later in life. The new study suggests that traumatic brain injuries can be linked to the accumulation of Lewy bodies, which are associated with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. Lewy bodies are abnormal protein deposits in the brain that can affect certain chemical levels in the brain, which can eventually lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Ultimately, these affect a person’s ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis and may lead to Parkinson’s Disease or Lewy Body Dementia.

The study, published this month, contradicts an influential study from 1995 that had previously linked some aspects of traumatic brain injury with Alzheimer’s Disease. According to the lead author of the new study, the researchers had set out to prove the link between traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer’s Disease later in life. According to the article, they instead found that a single blow to the head that resulted in the victim losing consciousness for more than one hour increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease later in life by three-fold. The new study used data collected from three other studies that included participants initially free from dementia. The participants in the three other studies included older Seattle-area Group Health members; older religious clergy from across the United States; and older residents from the Chicago-area enrolled in the study through retirement facilities, subsidized housing, church groups, and social services. Having included thousands of older adults in the three studies used to conduct the study at hand, no particular link was found between the occurrence of traumatic brain injuries with loss of consciousness over one hour and Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers indicated that they found a “pretty strong” association between loss of consciousness lasting more than an hour and the risk of developing Lewy bodies based on comprehensive neuropathic evaluations conducted at the time of death. The research indicated an average 40-year gap between a traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness over one hours and the development of microscopic evidence of abnormal proteins associated with Lewy bodies.

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July 15, 2016

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Almost every time that someone gets hit in the head, either by an object or another person, there is some type of injury that occurs. With just a slight bump, perhaps caused by hitting the temple of your head against an open cupboard, there will likely be a cut followed by some swelling and a bruise. In other cases of more severe head trauma, a person may be rendered unconscious by being hit in the head. In these cases, a person will likely face some swelling, bruising, and a concussion. A concussion is a term that means temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head, but it is often used to describe the period of time after the concussion in which medical care and observation is needed.

However, while many people believe these types of injuries to be minor, they may actually be very serious traumatic brain injuries. Concussions that are shorter in length, usually under 20-30 minutes, can also be classified as mild traumatic brain injuries. From that point, there are moderate and severe brain injuries. Generally, a person suffering a concussion is observed for a period of time and then given a clean bill of health. Sometimes CAT scans or MRIs are involved in ensuring that no additional damage has been done, depending on the severity of the injury. However, sometimes serious traumatic brain injuries resulting from what appear to be mild concussions are misdiagnosed. When this happens, a person is at increased risk of prolonged neurological damage that may have a profound effect on that person’s well-being and ability to thrive as a human being. Some symptoms of traumatic brain injury that are often overlooked are discussed below.

Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

When a person is taken to the hospital after a bump on the head, especially after loss of consciousness, it is not uncommon for medical providers to perform CAT scans and MRIs to determine the extent of any damage that may have been done to the brain
. Often times, such tests may show that no visible damage has occurred. However, some signs and symptoms that minor traumatic brain injury has in fact occurred include but are not limited to:

· Fatigue;
· Headaches;
· Memory loss;
· Sleep disturbances;
· Feelings of depression;
· Loss of sense of smell;
· Nausea;
· Confusion; and
· Seizures.

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July 7, 2016

Illinois Supreme Court Decision Upholds Builders’ Rights in Warranty Cases

by Levin & Perconti

In 2011, a homeowner filed a lawsuit against a homebuilder because a retaining wall failed causing the collapse of a large patio at the home. According to the Cook County Record, the homeowner was the second owner of this particular property having purchased it from the original owner. The original owner had purchased the property from a now defunct homebuilding company, and the state’s highest court’s decision turned on an action taken by the original homeowner during the original purchase. According to the article’s information regarding the allegations in the lawsuit, the plaintiff in this case attempted to secure compensation for the thousands of dollars of damage caused by the patio’s collapse based on an implied warranty of habitability. The original trial court that heard the case ruled in favor of the homebuilder based on the fact that the original owner of the home had purchased the property opting for an express warranty and waiving their rights to an implied warranty. When the new homeowner appealed the decision, the appellate court ruled in favor of the homeowner and reversed the decision of the lower court. Eventually, the case was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, who ultimately ruled in favor of the homebuilder once again.

Understanding Express and Implied Warranty

Most products that consumers purchase, including houses and other large consumer goods, are protected by a warranty. However, that warranty is not always specifically stated or set forth. The two main types of warranties for consumer goods are express warranties and implied warranties. An express warranty is a product warranty that is clearly stated, often in writing when the value of the product is as substantial as that of a house. Express warranties can also be verbal in some instances, though the existence of a verbal express warranty can be difficult to prove. The express warranty is basically a guarantee by the seller of a product that the product will meet certain expectations, and that the seller will be responsible for costs associated with such products if they do not meet those express guarantees.

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June 30, 2016

Two Chicago-area Medical Centers Face Wrongful Death Lawsuits

by Levin & Perconti

Medical procedures can be intimidating for most people. They put a person in a stressful position in which a person must often choose between life and death. Doing so involves a great deal of trust in the medical professionals performing medical procedures, especially procedures that could lead to serious injury or death. Unfortunately, while medical professionals are highly trained individuals, routine procedures can be negligently performed. In other words, regardless of how much experience a medical professional has in a certain area or procedure, it is still possible for that medical professional to make a mistake that could seriously injure or kill a patient. It is also possible that care before or after a medical procedure can lead to injury or death. When such injury or death occurs in a medical facility or at the hands of a medical professional as the result of negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate in seeking justice for the unnecessary loss of a loved one.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

According to the Cook County Record, two Chicago-area medical facilities are facing such lawsuits. The first lawsuit alleges that the victim in question underwent surgery on June 17, 2014. The surgery in question allegedly caused several complications, one of which was an anastomotic leak, which the lawsuit alleges contributed to or caused the victim’s death. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an anastomotic leak is a serious complication related to colorectal or intestinal surgery. If not properly diagnosed, these leaks can cause severe and possibly fatal complications. The article in the Cook County Record states that the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the medical center that performed the undisclosed procedure on the victim has alleged that the medical center and staff failed to properly evaluate the victim’s condition after surgery, and consequently failed to provide proper medical attention when symptoms of postoperative complications began to arise.

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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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