Sean was walking in a marked crosswalk when a vehicle driven by an 80-year-old woman slammed into him so hard that the force of the impact cracked the windshield of her vehicle. Witnesses told an investigator that the driver had been attempting to make a left turn through the intersection and that she probably didn’t see Sean in the crosswalk until she struck him.
Sean was knocked unconscious in the accident and had to be transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. His injuries included a brain bleed, three cracked ribs, inability to walk, and difficulty seeing out of his right eye.
Brain bleeds are a dangerous, sometimes even fatal, result of trauma to the head. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to cut through the skull in order to drain away blood that is putting pressure on the brain. Even in less severe cases, brain bleeds are often connected to damage of the brain; patients who suffer from brain bleeds may experience long-term difficulty with speech, balance, motor control, and other necessary functions.
Sean spent over a month recovering in the hospital. By the time he was discharged from Harborview, his bill was over $236,000, and he needed even more treatment: corneal surgery to save his vision, physical therapy, ongoing care for his head trauma, and more.
Before his accident, Sean was an avid soccer player, skate boarder, and bike rider. But even after he was discharged, he had difficulty standing and walking due to balance problems caused by his head trauma. His ongoing difficulties with balance caused several more falls. In patients who have experienced head trauma, an increased risk of falling can be a long-term and potentially dangerous problem. Even a fall from a short distance can crack bones, damage soft tissue, or jostle the brain. In patients who are already recovering from a traumatic event, repeated falls can exacerbate their injuries, delaying the healing process and possibly even preventing them from making a complete recovery.
Sean passed away before his case was resolved.