A late trial has begun to test a drug which could limit the damage done by traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Conducted by pharma company Vsopharm, the test hopes to show the drug can limit secondary problems that come with brain injuries.
Most TBIs require families and friends of the sufferer to take a large role in the care and welfare post injury. This could include handling their finances if they have suffered cognitive problems and helping to complete basic daily tasks. Doing so however puts a lot of strain on those that do help; financial, emotional and physical.
Sincere Law’s job with any traumatic brain injury is to assemble a team of experts able to properly plan ahead for the sufferer and their family to reduce the physical, emotional and financial strain long term following injury.
The new drug being tested has been given the name VAS203 or “Ronopterin” has been enrolled in third stage testing with first estimated results scheduled initially to be mid 2019.The drug’s ingredients assist the production of key enzymes which help brain and body functions.
Phase 2 of the testing was successful following delivery in 6 and 12 month trials ensuring it showed improvements to patients in both the long and short term. The third phase of testing will see VAS203 being given to 232 patients suffering moderate to severe TBI in 35 European countries including Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the UK among others.
Vasopharmss CEO, Mr Christian Wandersee said of the third stage of testing:
“The phase III trial is a key test to confirm our belief in the clinical efficacy of ronopternin (VAS203) and its role in the treatment of moderately to severely injured closed head traumatic brain injury patients and leads us another step closer to bringing a drug for a highly unmet need to market. We believe VAS203 will provide physicians with a real opportunity to improve long-term outcomes for patients with this devastating condition.”
For more information on brain injuries including TBI, you can visit our brain injury page here. Sincere Law are specialists in serious injury cases. If you, a friend or family member have suffered a serious injury as a result of negligence you can call 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial, confidential, conscientious advice from one of our team.
We also have a contact page where you can get in touch directly. We ensure a professional service with links to the best medical, financial and psychological assistance in the UK. If you need advice on planning through a serious injury, call Sincere Law today.
The National Lottery has begun funding a brand new campaign, designed to help families living with children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Championed in Northern Ireland to support 50 families and even more children, the scheme could benefit the rest of the UK in the future, if and when it is rolled out further.
Five Year Plan
Family First is one of five projects launched at once, with an overall fund of £3.3 million going towards good causes. Living with acquired brain injury can be a full time job for families when the injury involved one of their children. Charities, along with existing government funding, can help alleviate some of the pressure on those families, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
The £700,000 scheme, which is set to run over five years, is initially being launched in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the scheme will help around 50 families to provide a good level of care and a happy life for their affected children, as well as assist the families also.
As the Family First scheme is lottery funded, it is hoped that the scheme may be rolled out further, across the UK in the future, especially if the pilot and initial £700,000 investment, proves to be a useful injection into the care of those in need.
What lottery funding does for us
1,000 Potential Beneficiaries
Up to 1,000 children are set to be helped in some way, as part of the funding, as they receive valuable support wtih care costs, advice, counselling and medical assistance.
The mother of one child involved was full of praise for the scheme and funding, stating “Family First has been so fantastic. You feel they really understand what it’s like for you and they’ll go the extra mile to provide support. It’s made such a difference. I can’t thank them enough.”
The Chief Executive of prominent brain injury charity “Brain Injury Matters” Fiona McCabe, commented on the toll that an acquired brain injury can take on affected families, saying:
“Families need the right support as without it they can fall apart. Parents may feel guilt and blame themselves for their child’s brain injury. Because there is understandably focus on the child with the acquired brain injury, their brother and sisters may feel confused and excluded. All this puts pressure on the family unit and can make the child’s rehabilitation all the more difficult.”
The new scheme will help alleviate a lot of that pressure on connected family members and help keep the lives of all affected as positive as possible. For more on acquired brain injuries and their effects, take a look at what we can do for acquired brain injury victims when they are caused by serious negligence.
Sincere Law specialises in brain injury assistance from acquired to traumatic, axial to diffuse. These injuries often require extensive assistance over a long time (something we are experienced in providing). For more news on developments for brain injury suffers and the serious injury sector, visit our blog.
Research by the Centre for Mental Health recently revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) will cost the UK up to £15 billion per year (not including other brain injury types). With that figure so high, is it worth placing more research into dealing with traumatic brain injury in the short term?
TBI & the Justice System
One of the biggest dangers facing those with traumatic brain injury is the possibility of coming into contact with the justice system. Up to 60% of offenders have suffered TBI before they were arrested. This statistic strengthens the link between brain injuries and criminal activity. While this link is more prominent in children with traumatic injuries heading into adulthood, it can still affect an adult mind.
Of course, not all traumatic brain injuries would cause a person to commit crime, but the impairment one causes to somebody can often affect judgement and emotions. When this happens and a sufferer finds their judgement affected, the cost of taking care of them can spiral. This is because they could require assistance from a designated carer, or may suffer cognitive problems, meaning that they can no longer work. For anybody who suffers a traumatic brain injury and commits a criminal offence, it can be a difficult task to educate them on why their behaviour is not appropriate.
Regardless of whether a traumatic injury sufferer offends as a result of impaired judgement or not, the effect of a “mild” or “severe” traumatic brain injury can lead to challenging consequences on their family when it comes to taking care of them in the future. These tend to be even worse if the person suffers the injury early on in life.
Research has suggested that a traumatic brain injury can have several very negative effects on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. These may all require some form of aid to adapt to and live with.
Statistics show a traumatic brain injury can:
Double risk of mental illness development
Increase risk of earlier death
Increase risk of future offending
The cost of care in the UK for traumatic brain injuries is staggering. Each year around 160,000 people are admitted to hospital with traumatic brain injuries. 1.3 million people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, live with disabilities as a result. Overall these cost £15 billion to help assist and treat the victim. A large proportion of those affected are children, whose bodies are not fully developed and so run a much higher risk of severe damage when struck in the skull. Should a child suffer a traumatic brain injury, the chances are they will require some level of care or assistance throughout life.
Numerous charities are available to help deal with the deficit in funding by the government. Some of the front runners for this include Headway, BASIC and the National Brain Appeal. Charity work forms a large base of support and care for victims and families. However, when an injury does occur, a family may often need support further than what is available through charity funding or via national services. This is where the victim of a traumatic brain injury whose injury was caused by somebody else’ negligence, can seek the help of a solicitor such as ourselves.
When we take on cases for serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, we prioritise the victim’s care. To do this we form what is known as a “crisis team”, which is made up of people who specialise in the treatment of the injury suffered.
Once our crisis team is formed, we are able to plan and carry out a course of treatment and support for as long as required, with the prime focus being to provide them with the best quality of life possible within their circumstances. This includes providing them with the opportunity to get an education, enjoy leisure time and, where possible, to develop skills that will help them into employment..
If somebody close to you has experienced a traumatic brain injury or a head injury of any kind then you can talk to one of our team in confidentiality to find out more about what help and support is available to you.
Undiagnosed bleeding from brain injuries can prove fatal. This is particularly noteworthy in warzones as bleeding internally in the head isn’t easily identifiable. Thanks to new developments in ultra sound technology however, there could be a path to early diagnosis.
The problem with existing ultrasound scanners is that they produce a 2D model. This is most commonly used for baby scan images. Ultrasound works by projecting sound onto the human body and reading the bounce back, putting an image to the sound waves.
Other alternatives for better picture quality include CT or MRI scanners. In cases of emergency, where treatment needs to be quick, including as before, on a battlefield, then these devices become unfeasible. CT and MRI scanners are normally bulky and in some cases are so big they require a dedicated transport to house them.
How conventional ultrasound works
The new ultrasound scanners are a portable version the size of a laptop, able to create a 3D image of the brain and instantly send the data via the internet to a specialist. It allows remote diagnosis and a quick way of identifying bleeding. It also means that if an expert is not present at the scene, there is always one available online to look at the scans.
Long Term Gain
With the ability to quickly diagnose bleeding in the brain, there is the possibility to prevent haemorrhages. In remote locations without an expert who can spot the bleeding on scans this can be the difference between receiving the correct treatment fast and long term brain damage.
This is also beneficial for patients coming into A&E after suffering a stroke. If bleeding is not spotted early and is left untreated it can lead to further damage when the patient would preferably require rushing to A&E. Bleeding in the brain is not always recognizable without due training and experience; in the past patients may not have been identified as suffering this and risked long term damage or even death if untreated.
Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker saw the potential in the scanners and was very pleased to see the ongoing development reach testing. Of the scanners he said:
“Undiagnosed bleeding inside a brain can devastate a person in the long term and so having the ability to clearly identify this in a patient, even when a specialist doctor isn’t on hand at the scene, is a big step towards reducing catastrophic brain injuries. We hope to see continual testing and eventual rollout of these devices in our armed forces and A&E too”.
There is no doubt that the ability to quickly scan a brain for internal bleeding and send the results remotely can save lives going forward. The biggest question is how quickly can the portable scanners be thoroughly tested and rolled out for general use? Unfortunately at this point there is no set timeline but the testing is a large step towards that goal.
In the majority of brain injury cases taken by Sincere Law relating to internal bleeding, the longer a patient is left to be diagnosed; whether that is simply waiting at a hospital or waiting for a specialist to identify the symptoms; the more damaging the long term effects. A brain injury also affects the family of a victim just as much. They often involve complications including affected motor functions, restricted learning capacity or general brain functionality problems.
Steps towards reducing the amount prolonged brain bleeding sufferers are being made every day. In time we hope that those operating in our armed forces and those in need of quick assistance in our hospitals have access to the new ultrasound scanners.
A brand new device labelled the “Q-Collar” has been designed and tested using two studies in the United States. The device, which is placed inside a sports helmet, aims to reduce concussion injuries by manipulating blood flow to the brain.
The Q-Collar works very simply by being placed inside a helmet allowing it to gently press on the jugular vein of an athlete. The pressure on the vein then allows a slow outflow of blood, keeping blood volume in the brain. When involved in a contact sport, your brain can be at risk to aggravated injuries from knocks to the head. The collar is designed so the higher blood volume in the brain can pad out and protect it during sport.
The tests carried out in America involved two heavy contact sports that required helmets (American football and hockey). The studies, which took place in Cincinnati, measured the flow of blood and activity of both athletes that wore the collar (half), and athletes that didn’t. The results indicated that those athletes who took part without the collar suffered a “disruption of their microstructure and functional performance of the brain”.
The Q collar may well have future applications in more than the sports tested if further research shows the device to greatly assist with the prevention of injury. While American football and hockey are considered niche sports in the UK, other more popular sports that require a helmet may benefit from widespread use. Other applications which could see the Q collar used include:
Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker has praised the research as an “exciting development” in the protection of athletes. “There have been positive advances in dealing with sports related head injuries in the past few years. It’s vitally important we protect everyone from brain injury as the long term effects can be devastating; particularly so for those who aren’t backed by guaranteed contracts and access to the best therapy.”
As solicitors who specialise in serious and catastrophic injury, Sincere Law has helped victims of severe head injury in sport in the past and know that the road to recovery can be a hard one, not just for the victim themselves, but for their families as well.
Given the limited access to therapy that amateur sportsmen and sportswomen have, when compared to the professionals, the introduction of technology, such as the Q Collar, could go a long way to help prevent serious head injuries to competitors.
Last week we gave you part 1 of “safety on the school run”. That article focused on how to best stay safe as a pedestrian walking to school with an emphasis on being aware of vehicles and your child at all times. The second of our two part blog offers the top tips for when you are actually on the road and behind the wheel.
500m danger zone
Back in 2013, research facility “Road Safety Analysis” and AXA insurance helped spearhead a report that pointed to the danger of road accidents within 500m of the school gates. Statistics coming from the report indicate that in 37% of UK school boroughs, an average of 1 child per year was involved in a road traffic accident within the 500m radius around a school.
The study was conducted between 2006 and 2011 with the total number of accidents within 500m to be 85,814, averaging 1,190 per month. Alongside injuries the inquest also dealt with the number of vehicle collisions totalling 557,200 in the same time period, equating to an average of 6 collisions per school per year!
School run etiquette
In the UK there are multiple organisations supporting road safety, all of which offer tips and reminders to drive responsibly around your local schools (such as the National Safety Council). We have however compiled our own top 6 tips to help keep yourself, your child and everybody else’s children safe during the daily drive to school.
1. Make it leisurely
Your time in a morning is precious. Running a household is no easy task, making sure the pets are fed, the youngsters are well nourished, clothed and packed; securing the house before leaving and making sure you have all of your own materials alongside the kids’ is quite an achievement once completed. It can be very easy to be dragged into a race to the gates by unforeseen problems cropping up in a morning. With that in mind, as easy to say but hard to implement as it is, doing everything 5 minutes earlier and leaving the house a little sooner than usual to could make all the difference to your journey. A relaxed driver is a vigilant driver; rushing increases risk of reduced attention span and in turn increases the risk of not spotting a stray child or the car in front breaking suddenly. Turn the race against time into a leisurely, pleasant drive.
2. No cruise control
You know the route, you know where the shortcuts are, and exactly how long to the millisecond the morning run takes. However, letting that knowledge pilot you from home to school heightens the risk of cruise control setting in and could lower awareness of your immediate surroundings. Driver error causes on average 67.5% of road traffic accidents, accounting for 65% of all fatal road traffic accidents and 61% of serious traffic accidents. Driver error includes the following instances:
Failing to look properly
Failing to judge other people’s path or speed
Being careless, reckless or in a hurry
Loss of control
Poor turning or manoeuvring
Travelling too fast for the conditions
Not accounting for a slippery road due to weather
With so many factors contributing to driver error, it’s important you are aware at all times. Hazard perception is an integral part of safe driving, not just spotting oncoming pedestrians but judging speeds and distances, making note of how the weather affects the journey and driving smoothly all add to a safe, comfortable drive.
3. Speed kills
A sentiment heavily pushed with the assistance of public service films on our television screens and on posters over the years (See “its 30mph for a reason” video below). It is without question that speeding is dangerous regardless of where you do it, but add that to a school environment; parked cars, public transport, pedestrians and unpredictable children added to the mix, there is potential for serious harm with a collision of any kind. It’s tempting to sneak extra speed into a drive if you are worried about timing, but the risk of a life against turning up 1 or 2 minutes later than normal is a trade off not worth making.
4. Every child is your child
The best selling book in the world states a simple line within it that a famous man once said. He told us “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. Very philosophical words for a blog about taking the children to school; but one which is very appropriate. As the quote suggests, you should treat every child, every parent walking hand in hand with their little one, as you and your own. If you were in their position and they were driving in your vicinity, you would very much hope they were careful, courteous drivers; and with that in mind you should be the same back to them.
5. Make eye contact
When establishing a relationship we are advised to make lots of eye contact. It builds trust, creates a rapport and lets us make lots of nonverbal communication. Simply connecting eye to eye allows two people to acknowledge they are both aware of a situation, be it two people looking across a dinner table on a date, friends exchanging an “in joke” via a quick glance at each other, or, importantly in this case, a pedestrian and driver acknowledging they are there and want to use the road safely. It can be a quick, efficient way of determining another road user’s intention. For the ability to judge when to slow down and stop, a simple glance towards one another can be a life saver.
6. Park safe
When it finally comes time to pulling up and either letting your child jump out or stopping and walking the final few steps with them, remember to park in a spot that will not cause problems for other road users. Nobody likes poor parking, but the feeling is even worse should a parked car obstruct traffic in any way, make it difficult to manoeuvre around or obstruct the view of pedestrians looking to cross the road. As with point 4, you would likely not appreciate a bad example of parking, so make sure you are not that example. Good parking etiquette includes:
Using designated bays
Parking on roadsides that do not contain double yellow lines
Giving enough room on both the road and pavement
Only opening doors when it is safe
Indicating to pull over and park in good time
Follow the simple steps and your final drop off will be stress free, safe and carry the least risk for all involved.
Be the shining example
Using this two part article, allow yourself to be the example setter. It’s very easy to slip into routines and into autopilot during tasks you do every single day. With the school run, as a pedestrian or driver, consider not only your child’s safety, but that of your fellow parent’s. If you show them the extended courtesy of being a mindful pedestrian, or a careful driver, it can spread to others and keep our schools, and our children, safe. Sincere Law has come across many cases relating to accidents around schools in the past, we would definitely like to see the number of children’s cases drop.
If your family has however suffered on the school run in an accident that wasn’t your fault, see what we can do for you. We offer free, impartial advice and expert guidance on how to deal with injuries to children. To get a free, confidential call from one of our solicitors, contact us here or call us on 0800 092 2896. All of our solicitors works on a no win, no fee basis, giving you no risk to starting your claim today.
After an exciting summer break with plenty of adventure, fun and a few (well, a lot) of rainy days; it’s finally ‘back to School’ time! September has worked its way towards us all summer until we are finally here, the beginning of the new academic year and the next set of School runs. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to remind yourself to be extra vigilant and take all necessary precautions to stay safe when walking your child into School. Part 1 of this 2 part article aims to help remind all parents walking with children of the dangers of not staying vigilant on roads around schools.
Casualties around schools
Managing road traffic accidents involving children aged 16 and under is a large task in the UK. With statistics showing 2,412 children killed or seriously injured in 2011 and 800 of the same incidents in 2012, it’s imperative to ensure the decline continues and incidents involving school children are prevented. Post 2000 there has been a positive and steady decrease in the amount of children seriously injured by road users (see below); hopefully this can continue with both drivers and pedestrians around schools more mindful of their surroundings, exercising correct caution.
Keeping the graph in mind, Sincere Law has looked into the most common reasons for accidents involving children around schools and has come up with our best practices to remember when walking your child to the school gates each morning. Some of them may already be very obvious, but it never hurts to revise; the cost of your child’s health and life is far too important!
Staying safe for pedestrians
1. Hand in hand is the way to go
Younger children feel safer when an adult is there to hold their hand through many situations. From a young age it is a good idea to get them into the habit of holding hands while crossing the road for safety. Of course from a parent’s perspective, having your child in hand will ensure no running out in front will occur, lowering the risk of falling from the pavement or straying into the road towards danger.
2. Beware when between cars
There isn’t always a zebra crossing, pelican crossing or crossing guard available outside every school. If there is outside of your child’s school, make the most of it/them and encourage your child to always use the safest spots to cross. If the school however is on a road that has cars parked along the perimeter, it is vital to impress upon your child the dangers of crossing between cars on a busy street. If avoidable, always cross where there is clear daylight to see oncoming cars and bikes so they can see you. If though you have no other options, do not walk out between them, but take extra time and care to let yourself and your child have a clear crossing.
The Beatles setting a good example of a safe crossing
3. Take the outside lane
An unwritten parental rule is to have your child walk to your left and away from any road. Younger children in particular will sometimes veer off course, maybe stumble or try and walk off ahead by themselves. The closer to the road they walk the higher risk of danger from passing vehicles. Of course around a school environment we all would hope drivers obey the 20mph speed limits and drive safely, but to not take that risk and enforce “adults on the road side” can avoid any falling/venturing into the road and into the path of imminent dangers.
4. Copy David Prowse’s fine example
Back in the 1970’s, 1980’s and as late as 1990, Britain’s premier bodybuilder of the era, known best on the big screen as Darth Vader; David Prowse; portrayed to children across the nation the knowledagble ‘Green Cross Code Man’. The faux superhero protected youngsters who strayed near the road and didn’t pay attention, warning them of the dangers of doing so. While he may not be around to guard our school runs in 2015, his message lives on. Impart on your children the green cross code, the tried and tested stop, look, listen and cross. You don’t need to wear a white and green costume to bring enlightenment to your children on road safety.
5. Encourage constant concentration
While knowledge of the green cross code can help instil the routine needed to stay safe on the roads (not just on the way to school), it also needs to be accompanied by an alert pedestrian. Reminding your child to keep looking when crossing, even when holding your hand, will help keep their mind vigilant; doing so regularly will also help develop the understanding of always looking and always watching for hazards. For best practice it is worth teaching them to keep looking each way even when crossing to make sure no imminent danger is approaching like an unseen bike or a car that has sped up and approaching faster than anticipated. Only when on the opposite side is everything safe again.
6. Timing is key
We understand the hectic nature of a family home in the morning, parents trying to drink down their hot tea or coffee in one go as they grab their coat to leave for work, the children are never seemingly ready for school and in a constant state of “just have to put my shoes on” and the dog is still hungry from not being fed yet. A household is incredibly hard to manage in a morning and it is tempting once you leave with child in hand to let autopilot take over as you rush to get them to school on time. Being late and rushing can compromise safety if attention drops. It may be a difficult suggestion to make, but making sure everybody leaves 5 minutes earlier than usual could very well ensure a race against the clock is not on the cards and awareness is increased. An alert and attentive mind not preoccupied with trying to beat the clock could save lives!
Road accidents by schools – the impact
The result of a car, motorcycle or even a bicycle striking a child under 16 can have devastating consequences. Cars driving above 30mph can kill children due to the body not being fully developed and able to cope with the impact. Even bicycles can cause severe internal bruising, bleeding, bone breaks and head injuries as a result of the initial strike.
Not all accidents with children by schools are fatal, but a non fatal crash can change lives just as much. The likelihood of sustaining harsher impact injuries such as spinal damage, brain damage, bone breaks and hyperextensions in the body are higher than that of an adult. The results can require lengthy rehabilitation from the resetting of bones, repair and physiotherapy needed to help muscle tears, and potentially psychological assistance as suffering from an incident at a young age can affect a child for the remainder of their life.
Alterations to lifestyles could be required from help moving around the house if the accident results in limited or loss of mobility and care may need to be provided if there are effects on the ability to perform regular tasks. Having dealt with very sensitive cases such as these for over 20 years we know what is required to help a family and child recover as best they can from an accident on the road, around school or otherwise. If you or somebody you know has suffered from an incident involving a child on the road, feel free to call us for expert, impartial advice on 0800 092 2896 or contact us here for all the information you need to start a claim and get some measure of justice for your family’s misfortune.