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A Brain Injury at School…a Cautionary Tale for Parents

”]At about 2:00 pm, second grade student Michael Rodriguez slipped on some water at school and hit his head. By 6:00 pm, his mom was rushing him to the hospital. The basic story is simple, but the lessons are in the details.

According to a Texas-based news source, VictoriaAdvocate.com, by the time 7-year-old Michael got proper medical care, he was screaming “My brain hurts…I’m going to throw up.” After a CT scan, he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and contusion.

Michael’s mom, Michelle Robinson, who also has three other children reported that she had had previous difficulty communicating with the school nurse about her kids’ medical problems. According to VictoriaAdvocate.com:

“I personally went to the office and told her, ‘I don’t care if it’s something as little as a cut on his knee, I want to know,'” Robinson said. “At that time, she pulled all my kids’ emergency medical cards and wrote on there in red pen, ‘Call mom for anything.’ She led me to believe that communication was going to be better.”

Robinson did not receive a phone call about her son’s afternoon head bump.

The issues raised involved the nurse’s qualifications (the school said that the nurse was certified as a “licensed vocational nurse” who was in her first year with the school); the nurse’s treatment of Michael (the nurse’s clinic notes indicate he was treated for about a minute, and the child was sent back to class with just an ice pack); and protocol for head injury (standard protocol involves monitoring a student for 20 minutes to watch for symptoms of slurred speech, blurred vision, headache, etc.).

“What if it happens again? What if it happens to another child, and it’s worse next time? I will be more than happy to use my son as an example and do something to reprimand this nurse, or it can happen again,” Robinson said.

It is frightening to think how easily a slip can change from a “bump” to a skull fracture.

While there is no way to prevent all accidents, there are some tips provided by Dr. Jeffrey Lehman, Director of the Huff & Puff Allergy and Asthma program at St. John’s Children’s Hospital (on FoxIllinois.com) about how to ensure that your child receives the best care possible in school:

  • If your child needs specialized treatment, make sure the school’s staff knows how to administer medications and other treatments;
  • For chronic medical problems, provide the school with a personalized management plan to take the place of the school’s standard plan;
  • Give the school a recent photo of your child to include in the child’s medical file, as well as up-to-the minute contact information for you and any other emergency contacts.
  • Ask about the school’s protocol for dealing with common injuries, including falls and head bumps. Make sure you understand exactly what will happen if your child is injured.
  • And even though it didn’t work for Michael’s mom, ask to have the school contact you anytime your child visits the school nurse.

To read the full story on VictoriaAdvocate.com, click here:   7-year-old Suffers Skull Fracture

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