Multiple TBI’s in the Same Wreck
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By all logic, multiple TBI’s it should happen more often. Families travel together, they can get hurt together. Thus multiple TBI’s may occur. Yet, the story of Nancy and Otto being hurt in the same wreck is a unique one. Evelyn was the mother of Nancy and the husband to Otto.
On the day of the wreck the multiple TBI’s were, nine year old Nancy who got all of the attention, as she had a skull fracture. Otto’s TBI was relatively mild, undiagnosed because of the time energy and focus of the ER on getting Nancy air-flighted. And because of Otto’s orthopedic injuries.
It was a snowy, wintry day. Otto and Nancy were coming home from a family outing when an oncoming car recklessly hit them head on. While both Otto and Nancy were knocked unconscious, Otto quickly awoke to deal with the severe emergency his daughter was experiencing. Evelyn, the Mom gotten a call while Nancy was on route to the first hospital and actually beat the ambulance there.
While Otto’s orthopedic injuries were being treated, Evelyn dealt with the crisis of her daughter being air-flighted to the University Hospital. Evelyn and Otto barely spoke at the hospital, before she was off to follow her daughter to the trauma center. Evelyn had no idea that on that day her family had suffered multiple TBI’s. Evelyn begins her narrative regarding her family’s multiple TBI’s:
The evening of February 1, 2003 I got a phone call that my husband called me to tell me he was on his way home from a field trial. That he and Nancy had just stopped to eat at their favorite restaurant. They were on the way home but the roads were icy, so he was going to slow down even more.
About 20 minutes later I got the phone call from the friend who was passenger with them that they had been an accident. My daughter had a goose egg on her forehead , was breathing on her own but unconscious and they were taking her to the hospital.
Nothing is said to Evelyn about her husband being hurt. When she got to the hospital, her Sunday School teacher was there offering help, including a conference room. When Evelyn was taken to the conference room, she was told to prepare herself. She had no idea that with her husband and her daughter the wreck had caused multiple TBI’s.
I could feel my knees get weak, the color just drain out of my body. I’m a strong person, kind of in charge of a lot things. So I was surprised I was reacting like this. There had just been several car accidents of teenagers in our local area. (She works at therapy in the hospital). I was watching these teenagers come in (from these wrecks) and thinking “they have such strong families and let’s hope this never happens to me.”
It had happened. When Evelyn walked in, the first thing she saw was Nancy getting sick.
She was unconscious – vomiting. All her her clothes were on the floor and I realized that she’d be mortified if she knew anyone was looking at her without her clothes on. They cut everything off. Her snowmobile suit, her underwear, her shirt, was laying in a pile on the floor.
And I walked in, I rubbed her foot and I said: “Mom’s here.
Then I was pulled out of the room by the doctor. The physician told me that it’s really bad. We need to take her in for a CAT scan. He told me to call family because we’re going to have to transport her to a center that can handle a brain injury.
Nancy ultimately had a good recovery and graduated from high school with her classmates. While she clearly has neurobehavioral challenges, she is likely to live a long and healthy life. Otto, has recovered nicely also from his TBI, one of the multiple TBI’s his family incurred from the horrible wreck.
Gordon S. Johnson, Jr., the author of this page is a lawyer, not a doctor, who practices law with the Brain Injury Law Group, S.C. Click here for more on the firm.