Jill Greenfield speaks to the BBC about brain injury case
Too many people living with Alzheimer's are being pigeon-holed by the authorities, meaning they don't receive the treatment they need. A man with early onset dementia who was seriously injured in a road traffic accident missed out on vital care which ultimately led to his death.
Philip Blewett was in the middle of a three-lane crossing at Stratford when he was hit by a white van. There was no other traffic and he was clearly there to be seen. Witnesses say he was catapulted 360 degrees into the air and landed on his head. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs and fractured vertebrae. His injuries were dealt with in an emergency setting, but after an initial hospital repatriation he was eventually transferred, not to a neuro rehabilitation unit, but a dementia ward. No specialist input or care was provided in respect of his brain injury.
When he was moved to the dementia assessment ward his physical and mental condition worsened - he started having seizures, his behaviour became erratic and confused and he lost a lot of weight.
It was at this point that Jill Greenfield and Jennifer Buchanan were instructed and the situation was immediately recognised. An interim payment was agreed and Sweet Tree carers were paid for to care for Philip on the ward until a suitable place was found for neuro rehabilitation. By this time Philip was showing many difficult traits flowing from the brain injury which the unit staff did not have the capability to deal with. As a result, his condition went downhill fast.
Speaking to the BBC, Jill said that Philip's family had not been listened to: "Time needs to be taken to look through patient records, to look at the whole person and to listen to the family. It's so easy for quick assumptions to be made."
A recent report from the Alzheimer's Society found that too many people with dementia were receiving unacceptable care while in hospital. Kathryn Smith, director of operations at the Society said: "Among some clinicians, there seems to be a lingering perception that people with dementia can't be rehabilitated. The upshot of this is that their other medical conditions are not treated with the same urgency.
The delay in providing the appropriate care and setting for Philip meant the opportunity for recovery had already been missed and despite best efforts and the best rehabilitation team he died earlier this year, unable to walk or talk.
Jill is recognised by Headway (the brain injury association) as a specialist in dealing with such claims.
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