FAILING TO PREVENT HEAD & BRAIN INJURIES IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Feb. 3, 2016
A recent article in the New Yorker highlighted the disturbing trends between domestic violence and traumatic brain injuries. Specifically, half of all domestic violence victims are strangled at some point (often repeatedly), many losing consciousness to the point of dying or simply suffering from brain injuries after oxygen is cut off to the brain and they suffer from blunt-force trauma.
Still, signs of strangulation are usually missed, and domestic violence victims are not typically screened for brain injuries in emergency rooms (as they should), leaving these victims extremely susceptible to life-long issues with memory, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and a host of other problems. Many of these victims—having been strangulated—were mere moments away from death (given the overlap between domestic violence victims of strangulation and homicide), and yet their perpetrators got off with a simple misdemeanor for the harm that they did.
In fact, strangulation and suffocation has become such an issue that, last year, the Supreme Court added language to its sentencing-commission report, recommending increased sentencing for strangling, suffocating, or attempting to strangle or suffocate a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner. Many states (including Florida) also now prosecute strangulation as a felony crime.
Still, it is disconcerting that so many victims of strangulation are not being properly diagnosed when they go to the hospital, particularly since the first 24 hours after the incident are crucial to saving their lives and preventing traumatic brain injuries. While there has been some progress in ensuring that the medical community understands when to look for signs of strangulation, the presence of traumatic brain injuries in domestic violence victims still has not made headway, particularly since these injuries are often not physically visible.
HELPPS is one such tool that emergency rooms can use to help identify domestic violence victims with potential traumatic brain injuries, but many emergency rooms do not have access to it. Many do not even have access to MRI machines. This leaves many with severe barriers to diagnosis and treatment, particularly since police and others who deal with domestic violence victims brush them off as simply being uncooperative or suffering from mental illness; not realizing that it’s actually a traumatic brain injury that is the culprit for their confusion or frustration. This can lead to many lives ruined, as some who suffer from traumatic brain injuries end up losing their jobs and sometimes even custody of their children.
Fighting for Florida Victims of Head Trauma
It is important to understand the complications of traumatic brain injuries involved in domestic violence cases. While many people such as veterans or athletes have support networks when they are injured, often domestic violence victims go completely overlooked.
If someone you know has experienced a head or brain injury as a result of someone else’s intentional act or neglect, seeking help from Clearwater personal injury attorney Mike Walker can help ease your mind. Attorney Mike Walker will work to help you hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions and get the financial resources you need for medical bills. Contact the office today for a free consultation.