The Vulnerably Housed and Homeless Suffer Increased Risk of TBI

Typically, traumatic brain injury (TBI) coverage focuses on those involved in contact sports and on military veterans. However, TBI also seriously affects vulnerably housed individuals and the homeless.

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation recently featured a study arguing that the homeless who suffer TBI have a strong, negative impact on public expenses. Homeless and unsafely housed individuals who have suffered damaging blows to the head are more likely to frequent ER departments for health care, to fall victim to assaults, to have done jail time and to have been arrested.

The Canadian article argued that traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, are approximately seven times more common among the homeless. TBIs may manifest themselves in mental health issues, in alcohol or drug abuse and in physical symptoms, including seizures.

The study stretched over four years, and 61 percent of its participants reported having sustained a TBI in survey. The figures were roughly consistent across Canada. Homeless individuals with a history of TBI were 1.5 times more likely to attend an ER due to the long-term side effects of their brain injury.

These individuals were also almost twice as likely to have spent time in jail or to have been arrested by police within the previous year — usually as a result of personality disturbances or impaired mental abilities as a result of a TBI. The homeless with brain injuries were almost three times more likely to be assaulted than other, similarly situated individuals.

Increased screening and condition-management assistance could help control the higher level of health care required for homeless TBI victims. Unfortunately, prospects for this kind of action remain weak in the face of more dominant health care priorities.

Posted on: May 30, 2014 | Tagged

Personal Injury Law Round-Up #45

The big story of the week here in Austin is Texas Supreme Court justice David Medina being indicted for arson yesterday. After the indictment was handed down, the Harris County (Houston) DA, who himself is in hot water and may be forced to resign, plans to ask that the indictments be dismissed. Apparently, the grand jury, which is described as mostly Republican (as are Medina and the DA), is now pretty upset at those statements. In fact, the assistant foreman has come right out criticized the DA for trying to protect the judge and has been quoted as saying: “If this was a truck driver from Pasadena, he would already have been tried and convicted.” I’m sure this soap opera will be followed closely in the local and national press.

Now, on to the regular content, and we’ll start off this week with the traditional look at tort “reform”…

Texas Watch has released a study finding that states with no tort “reform” have better health care systems than those states that have passed tort “reform” measures.

The Texas Watch conclusion might actually be supported by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The ACEP issued their National Report Card of Emergency Medical Services. The report card showed Texas’s caps have apparently done wonders to improve emergency room care (and I say that tongue in cheek – Texas received a D in public health/safety, a D+ in quality/patient safety, and a D+ in access to care while receiving an A+ in medical liability). On the other hand, Connecticut received great grades in access, care and safety while getting an F in Medical liability.

The FDA has proposed a new labeling regulation that will assist pharma in its preemption fight. The Drug and Device Law blog also has a post on the proposed regs.

Speaking of preemption, the ACS Blog has a post on The Emerging Threat of Regulatory Preemption. (Via TortsProf)

We were apparently a little quick to praise New Jersey’s new wrongful death statute. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine vetoed the amendments this week.

On the medical malpractice front, Eric Turkewitz has an interview with the famous “Flea.”

Michael Townes Watson at TortDeform looks at the media’s perpetuation of the medical malpractice problem.

Chris Robinette at TortsProf has a post on damage caps and physician shortages.

In the lawyers behaving badly category, sometimes the idiocy of our brethren at the plaintiff’s bar amazes me. A Florida law firm allegedly retained two investigators who paid a cruise line employee to provide confidential settlement information. Walter Olson’s title on his post addressing the story is “Great Moments in Legal Ethics.” That’s appropriate.

On to lawsuits and personal injury related items…

As reported in both the WSJ and the WSJ Health Blog, waits in emergency rooms are increasing.

And once you get out of the ER into the operating room, it’s not much better. John Day has a post on surgical errors. The DC MedMal Blog also addressed the same study.

And in the ER, you might get care you didn’t ask for (or specifically rejected). In New York, a plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit based on a forced rectal exam. Both the WSJ law blog and WSJ Health Blog reported on the story.

From the Chicago Tribune, an Illinois jury handed down a record $22 million medical malpractice verdict.

Ed Normund has a rundown of Orlando theme park injuries.

Ray Mullman at the South Carolina Nursing Home Blog examines a study showing the disparity, along race lines, of treatment received in nursing homes.

This was from last week, but Angela Dows of the Las Vegas Injury & Accident law blog reviews a court ruling that the Tennessee Titans can’t be held liable for a shooting allegedly involving Titans players outside a Las Vegas strip club. Good news for local Austin hero Vince Young and the rest of the Titans.

For those that handle trucking accidents, Jeffrey Lowe in the Trucking Accident Attorney Blog reminds you look for violations of federal motor carrier regulations.

And we have a couple of judgments that appear to belong in the “hard to collect” file. First, a judge ordered Libya to pay $6 billion for bombings.

And next, a former law firm associate was awarded $6 million in her suit against her ex-husband that tried to kill her. Perhaps all the plaintiffs should read the Asset Search Blog.

And finally, an Illinois patient sues her eye doctor for licking her toes. (Via Consumerist.)

And in the miscellaneous matters file…

Ron Miller at the Maryland Injury Law Blog has an interesting post on jurors and the internet.

Anne Reed at Deliberations has a brilliant post on capitalizing in trial on the natural tendency to pull for the underdog.

Personally, I’m a little uncomfortable with the thought of the Nintendo Wii as training for surgery. But I would be open to a good trial lawyer game so I might be able to beat my kids in some Wii related activity.

BlawgReview # 142 is up at Susan Cartier Liebel’s Build a Solo Practice. Next up is Public Defender Stuff.

Thanks again for reading.

Brooks Schuelke

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit

Personal Injury Law Round-Up #44

This is an abbreviated, trial version of the round up.

First, tort “reform” and lawyers behaving badly…

The Chungs have become the new favorites of the tort-reform movement.

On the other side, Kia Franklin at TortDeform has Glenn Beck’s ER horror story.

New Jersey has voted to allow emotional harm in wrongful death suits. (Via Torts Prof)

The ATRA faults plaintiffs’ lawyers for providing allegedly unreliable medical information on the internet. The argument is based on a “study” performed by a pharmaceutical backed group. It’s a bit ironic, given the meteoric rise of drug advertising, that the pharmaceutical industry would gripe about inaccurate information.

Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer Richard Shapiro has “Dirty, Dastardly Deeds of Injury Defense Attorneys.

Overlawyered also has stories of attorneys behaving badly in discovery disputes.

On to the real lawsuit and litigation news…

The window washer that fell 47 stories and survived will file suit. (Via the Maryland Accident Law Blog).

Some of the Texas tobacco lawyers are suing one another over fees.

On a med mal related note, a new study found that the US ranks last for health care among industrialized nations, as measured by preventable deaths.

I missed it from last week (but Reno personal injury lawyer Steve Klearman reports on it this week so I guess it’s fair game), but the New York Times reported on a study that in 1 out of 3 cardiac arrests the staff takes too long to respond increasing the risk of brain damage and death. The Brain Injury News and Info Blog also posted about this last week.

A New York court held that, even with the assumed risk doctrine, a coach can’t hit a player in the head with a baseball bat.

The Mass Tort Lit blog has an update on the Vioxx settlement.

And on to the miscellaneous…

Waiting for me when I returned from the courthouse Monday was my copy of Presentation Zen. We all know that the root of trial work is the ability to tell a story and communicate. This book (and the author’s blog of the same name) and Beyond Bullet Points (by Cliff Atkinson, one of the gurus behind Mark Lanier’s VIOXX presentations) should be required reading for all trial lawyers.

Speaking of being trial lawyers, John Day has “What It Takes To Be A Great Trial Lawyer – Part 3” and “Part 4.”

From Bill Childs and the TortsProf Blog, tort law on the Daily Show.

And BlawgReview #141 is up across the pond at CHARON QC. Next week’s will be hosted by Susan Cartier Liebel’s Build a Solo Practice.

Thanks again for reading.

Brooks Schuelke

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit

Medical Malpractice and “Defensive” Medicine

An anonymous Texas ER doc has a blog post discussing the medical malpractice story of Christopher Jones. Mr. Jones, 33, arrived at a Los Angeles area emergency room complaining of chest pains, where he was told to sit down and wait his turn. After more than three hours, he got up, walked outside, collapsed and died of a heart attack.

The post has some great thoughts on the necessity of so-called defensive medicine. However, some of the comments, apparently from other physicians, are quite chilling.

Thanks to the New York Personal Injury Law Blog for the link.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit

Schuelke Law maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke

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