A rising wave of support seems to be building for the federal piece of legislation known as the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan). Blog readers are well versed in the details of this proposal as our Chicago brain injury attorneys discussed the issue this week. Just this week another newspaper editorialized in support of the proposal.
The South Bend Tribune editorial reminded readers that information on brain injury prevention and treatment remained relatively sparse-especially compared to advances made in other areas in recent years. Of course, it is obvious that traumatic brain injuries can be prevented by stopping the trauma from occurring-whether that be in auto accidents, falls, sports accidents, or the like. However, as we’ve frequently reported, often the most damage to the brain occurs in the hours or days after a trauma has actually occurred. This wave of brain cell death is often referred to the “brain tsunami.” Working to prevent this wave of damage would go a long way to drastically improving the lives of those who suffer head trauma. In addition, there remains a long way to go before medical experts are uniformly aware of the best treatment practices.
The editorial explained that the PABI Plan was first envisioned by the father of a pediatric brain injury victim-a young girl who suffered damaging harm after falling victim to a traumatic birth injury when only five days old. When the father was looking for answers to determine the best way to help his daughter he was amazed at the lack of clear information available to him or even to medical professionals who were in charge of her care. There was no repository of information, clear prevention plans, or treatment options. Instead what he found was that prevention and treatment goals were essentially arbitrarily made from one office to the other.
After dealing with his frustration, the father decided that something needed to be done. That is when he became involved in an effort to pass the PABI Plan-also known as H.R. 2600-which would fund a comprehensive initiative to create a “best practices” system to both diagnose and treat these injuries. The specific plan that is being considered by Congress was proposed by an advisory board of the foundation dedication to the young girl.
The plan, if passed would allow for data collection each state. The data would then be shared in a national database to maximize the overall effectiveness of the process. In addition, the project would provide special focus on brain injuries suffered by servicemen and women. The term “pediatric” is deceptive in this case, because it actually includes all those under the age of 25 years old-meaning many injured Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans would be accounted for in the plan.
Of course, considering the tens of thousands of victims of these injuries, passage of this bill is a common sense step that all legislators should support. Also, the funding for the measure would be provided for entirely from funds already held by the secretary of Health and Human services. Therefore it would not put any more strain on the federal budget. If all goes to plan the measure will pass both houses of Congress by the end of the session-this summer. It will then be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.
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