Posted on May 7, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series Ian

Results Were Severe Brain Injury: Ian Part One

Our next interview is with Ian and he talks about the accident which the results were severe brain injury that he was involved in.  This is how our interview came about:

TBI Voices is a project that begins with our presenting Lethan Candlish’s “Who Am I Again” to support groups.  Our presentation in Green Bay was one of our first, so my assistant and I were setting up the video camera to tape my conversation with the support group after  Lethan’s performance.

We had a new tripod and were both struggling understanding some of its levers.  An attendee at the support group stepped up and showed us what each lever did.  We asked him if he was a photographer and he said no, but he did offer that he was good with mechanical things.

At support groups, you are never sure whether the person there is a survivor or a caregiver/friend.  As this man was with a friend, we thought perhaps that his friend was the survivor of an accident that the results were severe brain injury.

After we finished our presentation and asked for volunteers, the man who had been so helpful with our tripod volunteered to participate.  This was Ian.  His friend, part of Ian’s support group, also offered to be interviewed.  During our interview, we were not surprised to learn that Ian had been a mechanic or that the friend who had attended with Ian had been the kind of friend whose true mettle came out in the crisis that was Ian’s results were severe brain injury.

Ian was hurt in a one vehicle motorcycle crash, on October 4, 2007, two days before his 43rd birthday.  He explains what happened, best that he can and how the results were severe brain injury:

I was riding a motorcycle.  I had some friends behind me.  I went to go on, the highway kind of splits and I went to the right and about the third arrow that they have marked I went off the highway.  I don’t know if I blacked out, passed out, stroke, heart attack, seizure, animal cut in front of me, hit something in the road.  I just don’t know.  To this day I’ll never know.

Ian’s friend, who was not with him but knows the people he was riding with, had this additional information on what happened that the results were severe brain injury:

My understanding was he was following somebody around curve that was going off of Highway 141 and getting onto the I-43 Tower Drive Bridge.  Around the curve before it straightened out, he went straight instead of making the turn.  The person he was following looked in his mirror and lost him so he stopped.

He went back around and he found down in the ditch and he called the police; he called the ambulance.  My understanding was between then and when they got him to the hospital he stopped breathing so they brought him back to life three times.

Ian’s accidents results were severe brain injury, as well as fracturing his C-1 vertebra. He told us more of the details:

From what I was told from my friends that were with me is I had about the size of an orange on the back of my left side of my head.  I wasn’t breathing.  I wasn’t responsive, nothing.  I was just basically there.

I was not wearing a helmet.  And from what I was told, it could have went either way with a helmet because I did fracture my, what they call the C1.  And generally one of two things generally happens when you do that.  Either you’re paralyzed from the neck down or you’re dead.

Ian’s amnesia as ?

Two weeks before and two weeks after are gone.  I have no idea what happened, where I did, nothing.

Not, how would you say this?  I’m trying to remember how it – I just remember being in the hospital and seeing somebody and talking to somebody, but I can’t remember what it was.

All I know is I was on fourth floor of Saint Vincent’s.  Went in (to St. Vincent’s) of course the night of the accident, which was October 4, and came home Friday, November 17.

He says that he remembers about half of his six week stay at St. Vincent’s after the accident that the results were severe brain injury.  His first memory?

It’s hard to say.   Well, I got things – what I’ve been told and what I remember they’re just kind of  overlapping each other.  So I’m trying to figure out which is the memory, which part is what was told to me is.  That’s kind of hard to do.

He wore a neck brace/halo for the C1 fracture for four to five months total “I want to say two or three months after I got out of the hospital.”  He definitely remembers that.  With respect to the nature of the injuries that caused the two week coma, and the results were severe brain injury he explains:

No, they didn’t do any brain surgery.   The only thing that kind of comes to mind is frontal lobe injury or where, I guess basically what they call “shaken baby.”  The brain shaking in the skull.

He has no scars on his head anywhere, either from the impact or any treatment done in the hospital.  From what he describes it is likely he had a focal but non-surgical lesion in his frontal lobes as well as a grade III diffuse axonal injury and the results were severe brain injury.

Next in Part Two, Waiting for Ian to Wakeup

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447