Tag Archives: communicating with TBI victims

Kind Words for Karen Mertes from MADD

Recently, Karen received a hand-written thank you note from the point of contact at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that she has been working with —
“Thank you for sharing your story with us.  Your determination and drive are really inspiring.  You have touched many lives, including mine.  I know that your story changes people and will continue to help us fulfill our mission of working towards 0 victims.
Regards,
Viridiana Medellin, National Victim Services Specialist, Mothers Against Drunk Driving”
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Karen shares her story to inspire others that there is hope after tragedy. Check out Karen’s entire spotlight with MADD here.

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The Responsible Driving Campaign (RDC) – Karen Mertes Spotlight

The Responsible Driving Campaign (RDC) will continue to focus on informing/reinforcing El Paso Sector Employee’s responsibility while operating a vehicle.
Voices of Victims: Air Force Service Member Karen Mertes
By MADD July 5, 2017
 Victim Stories
Karen, a Lieutenant Colonel serving in the United States Air Force, was driving the speed limit on the interstate when she was struck from behind by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph. The axle in Karen’s car snapped in half, and her vehicle’s undercarriage dragged creating sparks on the interstate for several hundreds of feet.Karen survived the crash but sustained multiple brain bleeds and was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Her memory, cognitive functioning, and personality were all impacted. Karen remembers looking at herself in the mirror and no longer recognizing who she was.
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M. (n.d.). Voices of Victims: Air Force Service Member Karen Mertes.
A DUI is extremely costly. It is putting your life and the community we swore to protect at risk.
 
·       Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash
·       On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime
·       Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes
 
Call a ride, have a plan;  it is a mistake that cannot be undone.  

 

The RDC is for you, your family’s and community’s safety.

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MADD Spotlight – Voices of Victims: Air Force Service Member Karen Mertes

Last week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), wrote a spotlight on drunk driver victim, Karen Mertes, and told her story of recovery and triumph after her accident.

Here is a snippet of the MAAD spotlight of Karen Mertes —

“February 7, 2007 was the day that forever changed Karen Mertes’ life path. Karen, a Lieutenant Colonel serving in the United States Air Force, was driving the speed limit on the interstate when she was struck from behind by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph.

He had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit and the crash resulted in both vehicles being totaled. The axle in Karen’s car snapped in half, and her vehicle’s undercarriage dragged creating sparks on the interstate for several hundreds of feet.”

Read the rest of Karen’s MADD spotlight here!

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Is My Career Over Because of my TBI?

After suffering an injury from a car accident, however mild or severe it may be, you must learn how to live life with your injury. It is important to remember that no matter how frustrated you become, some of these effects will only be temporary. Although, you may need to learn a ‘new normal.’

karen-mertes-money-matters

Initially, you may experience a period of denial where you’re unable to realistically assess what could be your reduced performance levels. Given my injury, I was no longer able to achieve my pre-injury performance where I had consistently exceeded expectations.

Unfortunately, depending on the severity of how your injury may impact your work performance, it could pose a threat to your case. The defense will use whatever new challenges you face at work as a litigation advantage.

You may be placed in a “no-win” situation. If you cannot return to work, his [the defense attorney] bargaining position has improved due to your lack of limited resources to live on. Also, his experts will likely opine you are a malingerer. If you do return to work, even under duress and in pain, he will argue you did not suffer economic damages as you continued to be “employable” post-injury.”


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Above quote excerpted from Plaintiff 101: The Black Book of Inside Information Your Lawyer Will Want You To Know.

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Tips for Communicating with People with Traumatic Brain Injury

Some people with TBI may have trouble concentrating or organizing their thoughts. If you are in a public area with many distractions, consider moving to a quiet or private location, and try focusing on short-term goals.
Dear-Jeremy-work-and-care-006

 

  • Be prepared to repeat what you say, orally or in writing. Some people with TBI may have short-term memory deficits.
  • If you are not sure whether the person understands you, offer assistance completing forms or understanding written instructions and provide extra time for decision-making. Wait for the individual to accept the offer of assistance; do not “over-assist” or be patronizing.
  • Be patient, flexible and supportive. Take time to understand the individual, make sure the individual understands you and avoid interrupting the person.

 

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