Brain Injury training for lawyers

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I attended an all day training session yesterday at 7 Bedford Row Chambers, London. The training was organised by the Brain Injury Group.

Although I have previously attended many courses on this subject, I found the training extremely useful in reminding me to consider the subtle nuances of brain injury when dealing with any client who has suffered trauma to the head, however insignificant it may appear to be in the first instance.

The effects of a head injury are often not apparent for some considerable time, sometimes years down the road.  The devastating effects of a severe brain injury are clear to see, but all head trauma should be approached with care and consideration should be given as to whether or not a brain injury may have occurred in all such cases. If you have not suffered a skull fracture, that does not mean you have not suffered a brain injury.

Brain injury comes in many guises. What I found most interesting yesterday was that CT scans often do not show the signs of a mild brain injury.  CT scans are the norm following acute head trauma.   Where there is risk of a mild brain injury, an MRI is required. Where there is sign of injury to the neck/spine a CT angiogram should also be undertaken. An EEG might be also be undertaken.  This looks at the function of the brain, whereas CT scans and MRIs look at the structure.   Clinical assessment is key and the moments immediately following head trauma are vital, but it is also vital to maintain observations.

It is easy for clinicians to forget to listen to family; family are more likely to notice the subtle nuances as opposed to the obvious changes.  Experts are aware of this.  As someone who knows the injured person best, make a pain of yourself if needs be! It is unfortunate, as often is the case, that some parts of the country are more equipped to deal with brain injuries by way of specialist neurological centres than others. Some centres, too, are better than others. Pressure is rising for performance lists to be made public, to name and shame those who are not performing as they should.  I am in total agreement. We are all accountable.

Remember, brain injury does not just affect the brain.  Our brain determines everything that we do and damage can affect us physically and mentally.  It can affect our sight, smell, and taste to name just a few.  These are not the normal effects that a layman might automatically consider when looking at an injury to the head/brain.  Cognitive functions and paralysis might immediately come to mind, but one needs to consider other potentially life changing effects of head trauma, not just the obvious.

This is a snapshot of a very interesting day, for which I thank the Brain Injury Group and 7 Bedford Row. If you or anyone you know has been affected by head trauma or brain injury, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I shall do all that I can to help.   

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