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A Young Lawyer, a Tragic Fall and Traumatic Brain Injury


In our dedication to staying informed about the latest developments in traumatic brain injury recovery, we recently came across a chilling story. Nearly three million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in our country. Some of these injuries are caused by things like auto crashes and other accidents. Sometimes these injuries are due to the negligence of others. There are many health care and research institutions around the country that are dedicated to this area of medicine. Here in Atlanta, we are fortunate to have the Shepherd’s Center which treats patients who have suffered brain injury.

After a TBI, victims need specialized care. Having a medical team with depth of knowledge and understanding of the latest developments can make a big difference in the prognosis for the injured person.
If one can imagine suffering a complex injury in a city with the support that is needed, this would be the story of injury and support.

When a young lawyer with a promising career was visiting a friend in San Francisco, he walked out onto his friend’s building roof top to take a look at the marvelous view. As is the case in many major cities, his friend’s apartment building had access to the roof and a look out that was used by many over the years to take in the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the stunning views. Many residents of older buildings and newer ones perhaps, have done this very thing in other buildings around the country. But in the case of this young man, his visit to the roof had tragic consequences. A rooftop shaft that was unprotected and undetected was open. He fell 40 feet down this shaft and was stuck there with significant injuries and was unconscious.
Search and rescue was able to get the severely injured man out. He was taken to the only Level 1 trauma center in San Francisco, Zuckerberg SF General Hospital. The injuries he had sustained were massive. From organ damage, to severe traumatic brain injury. A UCSF neurosurgeon who leads one of the preeminent research efforts became this injured man’s treating physician. The young lawyer was on life support and under an induced coma which is often used to stabilize trauma patients with TBI. His doctor was uniquely situated to apply the research he had gathered from thousands of victims which helped the team determine the extent of injuries using exacting imagery and helped them determine what to do for this young man. Although his physician has said that every case differs from every other case, the knowledge gained from MRI scans (more accurate than CT for this type of injury) was important and helped the team zero-in on the minute hemorrhages occurring in the victim’s brain.
The months that have followed this young man’s injuries have been challenging. He has the support of family who have agreed to allow their son participate in a major study, and physicians, occupational and other therapists. Although he is making strides, he may not be able to return to his former profession. But one thing is clear, his struggle will help many others as his case is followed by the brain injury experts that support his recovery. According to the report on his case, he is working to overcome the psychological impact of this injury. It is very clear that one of the key factors in his recovery is the support he is receiving.
So what is the take-away from this tragic story? For us it is, in part, that TBI can be a lifelong struggle. In the cases we handle where the TBI was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, as in a motor vehicle crash, the future is always present for us as lawyers. We must protect our TBI clients by helping them recover as much as possible to ensure they have sufficient means to live as long and as healthy a life as possible. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, contact Scholle Law. We will not only evaluate your situation at no cost, we will handle your case on a contingency basis which means that we will get paid when you are paid.