Brain injury seminar at 12 King's Bench Walk
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On Thursday 14 September 2017, three members of BL Claims Solicitors attended a brain injury training event run by 12 King's Bench Walk.
The seminar entitled 'Throwing the Book at Subtle Brain Injury' was led by specialist personal injury and clinical negligence barrister, Pankaj Madan and Dr Sarah McKenzie Ross, consultant neuropsychologist.
The event, which was attended by Kym Provan, (partner – clinical negligence), Eleanor Armstrong (senior associate – travel) and Lauren Haas (associate – travel), focused on the potential difficulties in diagnosing a mild brain injury.
Such injuries are not always able to be picked up on imaging, particularly that available in the NHS, but may still lead to significant difficulties for the patient. These may manifest themselves in symptoms which are physical, cognitive or emotional, all of which can have a very considerable impact on the affected individual's quality-of-life going forward.
Mr Madan discussed the methodology that appears to currently be accepted by the courts. This includes considering the following factors:
- the biometric mechanics of the incident, with particular focus on whether or not there was torsion involved
- the presence and duration of any post-traumatic amnesia
- the patient's clinical history pre-and post-accident
- the outcome of neuropsychiatric testing
- the exclusion of any differential psychiatric diagnoses
Dr McKenzie Ross went on to discuss the nature and interpretation of neuropsychiatric testing, including the difficulties presented by patients who are seemingly exaggerating their symptoms-otherwise known as malingering- and those who appear to deliberately fail to apply themselves when undertaking the neuropsychiatric tests. She explained that there are a variety of reasons that may give rise to poor effort, which may, but does not necessarily, indicate malingering.
At the conclusion of the formal seminar, there was the opportunity to network with other lawyers practising in this specialised area of law as well as to catch up with members of Chambers at 12 KBW, which all made for a very informative and pleasant evening.
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