Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries

Published on:

Morgan Wang suffered Spinal Injury in a NY Car AccidentBen Rubinowitz, managing partner at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf just obtained one of the largest verdicts ever in the Country for a Spinal Injury case. The Plaintiff, Morgan Wang, was awarded $71 Million by a Manhattan Jury last Thursday.

The case was tried before Supreme Court Judge James d’Auguste. After 3 weeks of trial, the Manhattan Jury awarded Ms. Wang a stunning amount of money to fully and fairly compensate her for injuries suffered in a car accident in New York in August of 2012. The jury awarded $5 million for her Past Pain and Suffering, 6 Million for her Future Pain and Suffering and 60 Million for her medical needs over her lifetime. “We put in an incredible amount of time and effort to make sure Morgan received Justice” said Ben Rubinowitz, who represented Morgan at trial, noting that “this young girl suffered life changing injuries.” She came to the right law firm. “We have a tremendous amount of expertise with Spinal Cord Injuries and no one will work harder or prepare for trialthe car after the accident better than us” said Rubinowitz.

The jury of 3 men and 3 women took two days to reach their verdict. Morgan suffered a fracture of her Lumbar Spine, often referred to as a broken back. Although she is now able to walk with braces, she still suffers from Neurogenic Bowel, a condition that makes it difficult for her to move her bowels.  As a result she will need continued medical and psychiatric care for the rest of her life. “Morgan is an amazing young woman” said Rubinowitz. “She refused to listen to her doctors at the trauma center who said she would never walk again. She overcame tremendous obstacles and worked through her pain at Mt Sinai Rehabilitation Center in Manhattan to learn to walk again. She is the epitome of someone who will never give up. I am proud of Morgan. She cares deeply about people and, to show you how remarkable she is, she now donates her time to help injured veterans. It was an honor to represent Morgan.”

Published on:

accident sceneThe cyclist struck by a drunk and unlicensed driver in New York last Sunday is still in a coma. 55-year-old Nancy Pease was part of a group of 6,000 cyclists who were participating in the “NYC Century bike tour” organized by Transportation Alternatives. Nancy and a group of around 25 cyclists were waiting at a red light at 12th Ave and 39th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn, when a minivan plowed into them. Several bicyclists were injured. Among them, Nancy who disappeared under the minivan as the driver literally drove over her.

The driver, 39-year-old Antonio Pina, was highly intoxicated. According to the police who arrested him he had a blood alcohol level of .287, three times the legal limit. Pina also told the police he didn’t have a driver’s license. He had been drinking margaritas and Coors light before driving his van. Witnesses saw him getting out of his parking space and crashing into another vehicle before accelerating and intentionally plowing into the group of cyclists. After he ran over the woman he got out of his car with bloodshot eyes and a disheveled appearance. As the police took him away he stuck his tongue out of his mouth looking crazy.

The FDNY had to remove Nancy Pease from under the van (see video below). Pease suffered serious physical injuries including a lacerated liver, abdominal bleeding and a traumatic brain injury. She had to undergo surgery and her spleen was removed. She is still in a coma according to the most recent news from the New York Post. A few other bicyclists also suffered injuries during the   accident.  They were treated for minor injuries at the scene of the accident and declined to go to the hospital.

Published on:

children at campConcussion is one of the most commonly sustained injuries by children and teenagers when they are at camp.  Therefore it is important that camps not only have specific requirements and guidelines to prevent traumatic brain injuries but also have a medical staff that is trained to recognize and treat concussions.

In regards to prevention, camps should always make sure that children wear proper helmets for activities involving motorized vehicles as well as activities such as skate boarding and skating.  Helmets also have to be mandatory when kids are involved in adventure activities such as climbing, spelunking or zip lining.  Children should also wear a helmet when bike riding as well as when horseback riding including pony riding.

Despite actively preventing concussions, accidents still happen and the camp medical team has to be ready.  The camp medical staff has to be able to recognize and evaluate a concussion sustained by a camp goer.  After  the camp clinician properly evaluates the young patient, he will have to communicate not only with the child but also with the parents to assure a proper recovery.

Published on:

 Electronic Health RecordThe Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)  released a study on Monday that looked at 14,527 traumatic brain injury-related primary care office visits for 7284 unique patients over a period of 4 years. They found out that after physicians used a concussion management tool provided to them through the Electronic Health Records (EHR) of their patients, they perform better diagnosis and treatment. 

82% of children suffering from concussion visit a primary care physician rather than a specialist to be treated. In the study, the researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that many primary care physicians  then refer their young patients to specialists because they feel they are not properly equipped to manage Traumatic Brain Injury cases.

With the input of the primary care physicians, the researchers developed an electronic template guiding the physician through a step by step approach for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of young patients suffering from concussion injuries. The electronic tool was integrated in the Electronic Health Record of the patient. The tool provided physicians with a “concussion Smartset” allowing them to document the evolution of the patient. Physicians were trained to used the tool at various seminars organized by CHOP researchers.

Published on:

young driverPeople who are driving after recovering from a concussion may be at higher risk of a car accident. A recent study lead by Julianne Schmidt, associate professor in the UGA College of Education’s department of kinesiology shows that despite being asymptomatic, people who recently suffered concussion may drive erratically. The study was recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

During the study, Julianne Schmidt and her team compared the driving skills of 14 students who suffered concussion but were symptom free with the driving skills of 14 students who didn’t suffer from concussion. Participants were required to to complete a graded symptom checklist and a neuropsychological exam. Participants with concussion were asked to take a 20.5 km driving test within 48 hours of becoming asymptomatic. Healthy participants of the same age were required to complete the same driving test.

The study showed that participants who previously suffered concussion but were cleared of symptoms exhibited driving behavior similar to someone driving under the influence of alcohol.  The researchers compared the number of crashes between the two groups of students as well as the number of tickets, the number of lane excursion, the way they were driving in curves and their speed. They found out that concussed participants were not well controlling their vehicles especially when driving in the curves. They also swerved a lot more than healthy drivers putting themselves and other road users at a greater risk of accidents.

Published on:

NFL Brain Injury   The Radiological Society of North America reports that a study published in the journal of radiology found measurable changes in the brains of children after one season of participating in youth football without a diagnosis of a concussion. Christopher T. Whitlow, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.A., associate professor and chief of neuroradiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., the lead author of the study stated “We wanted to see if cumulative sub-concussive head impacts have any effects on the developing brain.” 25 male football players between 8 and 13 years old were studied. The Head Impact Telemetry System (HITs) was used to record head impact data. Participants in the study underwent pre- and post-season evaluation with multimodal neuroimaging, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. DTI is an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain’s white matter. Diffusion tensor imaging measures what is known as fractional anisotropy (FA), of the movement of water molecules in the brain and along axons. Dr. Whitlow stated that the participants in the study “…who experienced more cumulative head impact exposure had more changes in brain white matter, specifically decreased FA, in specific parts of the brain.” He stated further research is needed to determine the significance of these findings. Read the RSNA Press release here.

Published on:

young hockey playersExtremity injuries and traumatic brain injuries are common in youth hockey according to a Mayo Clinic Study. Most injuries result from intentional contact according to the same study. Over the years, USA Hockey, the regulating body for youth hockey has taken different measures to make the game safer. Body checks which are causing the most dramatic injuries are now forbidden for players under 14 years old. Penalties have also been increased for contact with another player’s head. However if the rules are not enforced injuries will continue to happen.

It is the share responsibility of the coaches, the referees and the parents to make sure that the game is safe for the kids.

Coaches are responsible to develop good sportsmanship among players instead of a culture of intimidation.  A good coach will focus on developing skills and respect for opponents.

Published on:

child in strollerEvery year, thousands of infants and toddlers are diagnosed with traumatic brain injury or concussion after a stroller or carrier accident. A recent study by Erica Fowler, MPH, Christopher Kobe, MD, Kristin J. Roberts, MS, MPH, Christy L. Collins, PhD, Lara B. McKenzie, PhD, MA at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio analyzed strollers and carriers injuries from 1990 to 2010. The study was published in Academic Pediatrics.

The researchers found that over a period of 20 years, 360,937 children below 5 years old checked into the emergency room for an injury associated with a stroller or a carrier. The annual average of injuries was 17,187. However this average number didn’t mean much as the number of injuries significantly decreased over the years.

Most of the time, the injury was caused by a fall or a tip-over of the stroller or carrier.

Published on:

central park bikingA bicyclist suffered serious head injury in an accident in Central Park, New York City. The bicyclist was riding his bike in Central Park when, according to the police, a pedestrian stepped into the crosswalk in front of him.  The bicyclist squeezed his brakes hard and swerved to avoid the pedestrian. He flew over the front of the bike and landed on his head, on the pavement, 25 to 30 feet away from the bike. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He suffered serious body and head trauma. The police didn’t tell the NY Daily News if the pedestrian had the green light but the investigation is ongoing.

Last year in a similar scenario, a bicyclist killed a pedestrian in Central Park. The pedestrian was also in the crosswalk when the accident happened. According to witnesses, the bicyclist who was riding well over the maximum speed of 25 mph swerved to avoid other pedestrians before fatally striking 59 year old Jill Tarlov, a CBS senior VP. After the accident the minimum biking speed in the park was lowered to 20 mph instead of 25 mph.

Yesterday another bicyclist died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident in Central Park. According to Patch.com, the victim fell of her bike a month ago. 54 year old Gloria Garcia was visiting New York from Texas. She sustained a head injury and had been hospitalized since the accident which occurred on July 17th.

Published on:

printing houseA construction worker died after a scaffolding plank fell on his head at a New York construction site. 32 year old Luis Mata, was dismantling scaffolding at the Printing House Luxury Condos on Hudson Street when one of the planks became loose and fell 10 stories on his head. The construction worker was wearing a hard hat but the impact was so strong that he suffered severe head and neck injuries. He later died from his injuries at the hospital. Luis Mata was a non union worker from Mexico. He was living with his uncle in Westchester County. He was supporting his mom in Mexico.

Unfortunately we are seeing an increasing number of construction site accidents on non union jobs, as a result of contractors not implementing proper safety measures.

Following the accident, the NYC Department of Building issued a partial stop work order on the building. DOB records for the building located at 421 Hudson Street show that at the time of the fatal accident, the building had 6 open ECB violations including two class 2 and two class 1 violations  as well as 8 DOB violations.