Kenneth Goldblatt | October 20, 2018 | Personal Injury
Attorney for Traumatic Brain Injuries patients in New York, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester share this interesting traumatic brain injury article with you.
As a single mom and combat-wounded Navy corpsman, Holly Crabtree has too much on her mind to stress about the next time she might black out. She’d rather think about her daughter’s busy schedule packed with things such as dance classes and Girl Scouts.
But Crabtree’s been having seizures every week or two since she was shot in the head while serving on a Special Operations mission in western Iraq three years ago. The bullet led to two strokes, partial paralysis and epilepsy.
She doesn’t feel the seizures coming and she can’t prepare for them.
“They surprise me,” said Crabtree, 33.
Epilepsy is a common side effect veterans experience after suffering head trauma at war. It’s debilitating for parents such as Crabtree who worry about passing out in front of their children, and damaging for other veterans who can’t drive or hold down jobs because of their occasional seizures.
“The financial issue is big,” said Judy Ozuna, a nurse practitioner who spends several days a week caring for epilepsy patients at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Seattle. “Families don’t know how to make ends meet.”
The link between combat-related head trauma and recurring seizures is so well-known that Congress created special epilepsy centers within the VA six years ago. They care for troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, where insurgents wielded homemade explosives as their primary weapons against American military service members.
The centers, including one in Seattle, are leading the VA’s treatment for the 66,000 epilepsy patients it sees every year. Crabtree is one of the Seattle patients.
Doctors there helped her bring down the frequency of her seizures from three a week to one or fewer by using medication. That’s important for her because experiencing a seizure can make Crabtree feel like she’s regressing amid all the work she’s doing to reclaim her health.
“If you take two steps forward, then all of a sudden you have to take three steps back,” she said.
Medicine works for her, but other options for patients include surgery and procedures that regulate the brain’s electrical impulses.
“The good news is most people will never have a seizure again after the first medicine we give them,” said Christopher Ransom, a neurologist at the VA hospital.
An even larger number of veterans are getting care for seizures that are not necessarily related to epilepsy. The Veterans Health Administration estimates about 100,000 former military service members are seeking treatment for seizures every year, up from 70,000 in 2000.
The rising numbers stem from the traumatic brain injuries that an estimated 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experienced during the wars. Survivors of battlefield explosions often had their heads rattled, fell unconscious and sometimes experienced lasting changes to their memory and moods.
In many cases, the explosions would have been fatal if not for advances in-battlefield medical care and body armor.
“The body armor has allowed people to survive, but they’re still exposed to a blast injury,” said Dr. William Spain, chief of the epilepsy program at the Seattle VA.
Studies show about half of people who suffer penetrating head wounds or severe traumatic brain injuries — injuries similar to Crabtree’s — will develop epilepsy over time. The VA is preparing for as many 170,000 post-traumatic epilepsy patients from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Crabtree’s injuries are complex by any standard. She visits the VA a couple times a month for a series of physical therapy, mental health and other regular appointments.
Crabtree joined the Navy as soon as she graduated from high school to see the world. She rose through the ranks quickly to become a chief petty officer, supervising the less experienced medics who care for sailors and Marines.
She pursued one of the most dangerous jobs available to female sailors in 2009 when she completed training to serve on the cultural support teams that assist Green Berets, Rangers and SEALs on combat operations. She was a valuable addition to her Special Operations team in Iraq when she deployed late that year as a corpsman with some skills speaking the Arabic language.
Crabtree was shot on a mission on April 15, 2010, near the end of her deployment. The bullet pierced her helmet, fractured her skull and settled behind her eye. She was not expected to live.
(Courtesy of http://www.turnto23.com)
Traumatic brain injury can have long lasting consequences for the victim in extensive medical bills and post treatment. To learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury, contact the New York brain injury lawyers at Goldblatt and Associates to schedule a free consultation. We serve accident victims in New York including New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Westchester and Putnam Counties, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. We offer a free consultation, and receive no fee unless we are successful. Call 1-800-567-9888 today.