By: Allan M. Siegel
On November 8, 2012, Dylan Williams was a junior at Tufts University. He was walking home from the library one evening. He entered a crosswalk equipped with a blinking yellow pedestrian alert light, and he was struck by a distracted driver. The collision was so forceful that Dylan's head went through the front windshield of the car that hit him. From the very first moment his of medical care, we can learn so much about how to best handle a TBI. Dylan was hit at 8:30 at night, which meant that rush hour was over. An ambulance responded immediately, and without the delay of traffic Dylan made it to the hospital within a half hour. He was taken to one of the best hospital for brain injury patients, Massachusetts General, which has an intensive care unit dedicated exclusively to neuroscience.
The skilled doctors of this unit immediately inserted a tube into his skull to drain blood and fluids to relieve intracranial pressure. His brain was immediately attended to because speed is important in preventing long lasting damage when the brain is under pressure. Dylan was put into an MRI machine less than 24 hours after the accident, and doctors found that he had suffered a rotational brain injury. His brain had bounced around the inside of his skull and nerve fibers were damaged or torn to shreds. The doctors predicted that if Dylan ever emerged from his coma, he would likely need constant care to eat, dress, and bathe.
Eight days after the accident Dylan opened his eyes. The next day he wiggled his toes. After two weeks he was communicating by gestures and sign language, and after nearly three weeks he began writing on a pad. In his first scribbles, he asked his mother what was happening, if he was dreaming, or if he was dying. He said that he felt his brain been underwater for a long time. A few days later he was finally able to speak again. Dylan was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where he began an aggressive rehabilitation course. He endlessly worked his synapses and nerves through brain-training software, worked to improve his coordination through practicing his viola, and played countless word and strategy games with his friends. In fact, doctors believe that his friends and family also played a large part in his recovery. Many TBI patients suffer from debilitating depression, but Dylan's friends kept a constant buzz of pleasant social interaction around him. One of his friends took an entire semester off to stay with him in the hospital, and two more of his friends transferred universities for a semester to be near his home and rehab center. The doctors also believe that after an injury it is a use it or lose it battle to maintain your brain cells. The comforting and social stimulus of his friends and family helped to keep his mind properly engaged.
Within a year of his accident and after an incredible amount of hard work, Dylan returned to school full-time. He graduated in May of 2014 as Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts University. One of Dylan's doctors remarked that "whenever a team of doctors feels like there is not much hope for a patient, I show them Dylan's scan and say, 'What do you think this kid's chances of recovery were?' Then when I tell them how well he is doing, everyone is just shocked and humbled, and at the very least rethinks their assessment of the patient before them."
Dylan's case is a wonderful example of how the proper medical care can truly impact the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury. At CSCS, we understand how a TBI case must be handled from a legal perspective, and we also ensure that all of our clients are receiving the proper medical treatment needed for their injuries. If you have questions about a traumatic brain injury case, please call our firm for a free consultation.