Malpractice, Scorpion Venom, and Brain Injury Treatments
A Surprising Drink. By Attorney Michael Ehline. Scorpion venom would typically be the last thing anyone uses to help heal people. But that is precisely what is happening as we speak. In fact, scorpion venom’s use in the treatment or detection of deadly forms of brain tumors and cancer shows promise.
What is Scorpion Venom?
Scorpion venom’s ingredients include a tiny protein chain named chlorotoxin, which contains a chain of only 36 amino acids. However, this small protein interacts alarmingly with the human nervous system. Its size is exactly correct to block chloride channels and halt chloride ions from entering your muscle cells. A sting from a scorpion’s tail normally administers scorpion venom.
But testing proves it helps spot cancer as an imaging assistant. And it can even stop certain types of cancer. As a personal injury attorney, I would like to see a serum that can cure any brain injury. Science says some cancers happen due to genes. Other cancers come from out of the blue. Of particular interest here, certain different types of cancers arise from the negligence of others. Mesothelioma comes to mind as a negligently inflicted disease. But many occupational hazards cause cancers.
What does this mean for suing plaintiffs? It says that they need to hire cutting-edge medical experts in significant mass tort cases and toxic exposure cases. For example, we know that workers can be exposed to lead, chlorine gas, and a plethora of other poisonous substances. All are linked to cancer.
Why Are Experts So Important?
Experts employed by defense lawyers don’t spend a lot of time helping victims in court. They are too busy working to disprove their client caused your cancer. On the other hand, you must deploy your experts. But how do you do that with no legal training? The answer is, you don’t. Only a plaintiff’s lawyer with proper training knows these experts and the ones you need to hire to prove the plaintiff’s burden.
How Can We Trace the Cancer?
These will be people who can trace in the detection of deadly growths. Experts also help lawyers determine the cause and type of cancer. This detection helps us rule out negligence. It also helps us identify the proper parties to sue. We do first at Ehline Law Firm to gather the records and evidence showing your exposure.
Then an expert can corroborate. For example, they will say it is more likely than not that the plaintiff was exposed by the defendant’s failure to keep the plaintiff safe from toxins. Scorpion venom may be a better way to spot and stop certain cancers. So it may be a promising new tool in the arsenal of disease-fighting.
Does Causation Remain Key to Moving a Brain Injury Case Forward?
Yes. Proving what caused the cancer is key to understanding the cure. In any event, it can happen from smoking or even from drinking too much. Natural causes often cause cancer. Or it can be something a man-caused. When it’s man-caused, an unfair situation arises because man has now interfered with a fellow man’s life. So causation remains the key to moving forward in a case.
Why else must accident lawyers determine the causation?
The life care plan needs to include coverage for existing and potential new treatments to help clients. Detecting and treating these diseases can assist the victims to live long and prosper.
Scorpion Venom and Experimental Treatments Remain Expensive. A Lawyer Helps Sue to Get Money for Negligence
This usually means the victim will need a lawyer to help recover a sum of money to pay for the medical bills. Mitigation and detection before verdict or settlement also help the legal practitioner avoid malpractice exposure. Sometimes courts will disallow damages for experimental procedures. But what a client does with their verdict and money award is up to them.
There are also clinics and other experiments that clients and we can seek out. Sadly, treating the symptoms of brain damage is about as far as science has come. A cure for brain damage has only been in the form of gimmicks that are akin to snake oil thus far. But scorpion venom may actually hold some promise for the downtrodden.
This Isn’t Just “Snake Oil” – Scorpion Venom Works on Certain Brain Injuries
Presently the uses for this new “snake oil” may only be experimental. But a great attorney will make sure that he or she argues everything that can bump up the final amount. This truth holds even if it is an “off-label” or experimental treatment. Let’s take a look at a recent case involving college student Duane Rualo from Long Beach.
This gentleman saw the advantages of venom after being diagnosed with Glioma, a deadly brain tumor. Raulo is amazed. After treatment with the venom, he relates success. He had undergone surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, yet still, the tumor came back. In this case, we have a tumor that is medically probably hereditary from childbirth, except that:
Environmental factors such as food, radiation, or chemicals may cause these changes to genes?
Yes, it’s true, outside influence can trigger gene mutations. This means that a parent could have been exposed to radiation, genetically altered food, or unhealthy food. So this could cause you, or in this case, Rualo, cancer through childbirth.
Other Causes of Gene Mutations?
But it could also be the case that genes may have been altered by an environmental hazard or other outside factor caused by a wrongdoer. If that is the case, often, the statute of limitations will be tolled until the reasonable discovery of the source of the injury (Read More.)
This also means you (attorney or victim) need to focus on any hopeful future medical care as part of any case resolution if you are suing. You have to stay alive and get better if you can. In the instant example, the college student stated he was “hopeless” after the growth re-occurrence. By then, he was willing to try anything because he was too young to die.
When he learned about a rare giant yellow Israeli scorpion, he may work for his type of tumor. I, for one, 100% empathize with Rualo, which is why I am actively involved in charities supporting these types of treatments. Lawyers are humans too [well, some of us anyway.]
In the case of treating TBI, they had been somewhat stumped for years. Especially true was the case when they were posed with broad questions. The brain is just so complex. But repairing the brain is the main goal of all healers.
The Black Box?
David Ryser takes care of Intermountain Medical Center Neuro-Specialty Rehabilitation Unit in Murry. He acts as a medical director. Of note, he has used the term “black box” when defining the practice of various clinicians when it comes to rehab for patients with brain injuries.
Thus, he says that you will hear the clinicians say that recovery worked for a patient. But according to him, this information remains sparse. A lot of stuff remains hidden underneath that term. And it cannot yet be answered precisely. So the problem for researchers is finding the exact process among hundreds of operations. So the key remains finding out the goings-on as part of the cure.
The Evolution of Practice-Based Evidence in Diagnosing and Curing Brain Injury
A significant research project started seven years back. Further, it was initiated by professors of biomedical informatics at the University of Utah. Their names are Susan Horn and David Ryser. Susan Horn gained fame for prioritizing “practice-based evidence.” The study, published in a medical journal, showed 2000 subjects as part of the research. These topics’ researched located around ten rehab centers in various regions.
Also, rehab centers included in the study were not only in the US but in Canada too. One of those patients was Greg Nordfelt. So he had been a great motorcyclist in Salt Lake. Now Greg works as a banker at 53 years of age. Having a bad stomach one day, Greg fell off his Harley Davidson in Idaho. He suffered injuries to his skull and his left brain. So his normal life stopped right there.
Intermountain Medical Center was the place where he was brought after his accident. In addition to the brain injury, he had received serious injuries to his legs. Greg recalls that the first thing he did when he came to his senses. Mind you, this was after two weeks of being on the bed unconscious.
What he did was to follow the instructions of the staff. The people at the center for therapy gave him tasks. The patient received immediate physical therapy. The client also received occupational and speech therapy. He went through several processes, just like any other patient like him does.
The Butterfly Puzzle Example of Success
He recalls receiving a puzzle of just four pieces. When you joined all the parts of the puzzle together, it was a butterfly. He remembers this incident and cries with tears. Then he explains that he could not put such a simple piece of the puzzle together for so long. Finally, he was able to put the pieces together.
He had found out that it was a butterfly. However, it was even more shocking for him when he could not tell the doctors what he saw on the completed puzzle – a butterfly.
50,000 TBI Deaths Per Year
Traumatic brain injuries are a huge problem for the country. Tumors and brain cancer surgery can cause TBI or make it worse. Because TBIs caused 50,000 deaths in just one year in 2010, it shows their dangers. Also, as stated by several experts from the CDC, more studies are sought after. So the argument is that all the things are missing in the previous studies or not answered.
These can be answered with more data. The health effects of traumatic brain injuries are many. So this includes physical, cognitive, and mental. And these effects may change entirely from one patient to another.
The Many Factors Involved in TBI Treatment
Why it remains nearly impossible to pinpoint the working factors in rehab involves hundreds of factors.
Think about the elements that make one patient different from another:
- His age when he received a brain injury,
- The intensity of the impact,
- The damages of the brain injury,
- Treatments he is receiving etc.
Horn explains the question about rehab. He says when you ask this question, the person who should answer is clueless. The answerer thinks that it was impossible to pinpoint. Horn noted that practice-based evidence might be the only thing that works.
It could allow clinicians to answer such questions. He said that using practice-based evidence means collecting loads of data. Knowing more about the remedy of patients while working on them remains critical.
Statistical-Based Research on Brain Injury Treatment
After collecting the data, modern statistical techniques become invaluable. Also, this helps to find out the most effective processes. Nordfelt was one of the many patients who went through therapy and recovery. He did so immediately after the brain injury. So his treatment provided every dot of the information about his recovery. This information was key to researchers.
Thus, these researchers kept records of everything that he was going through. So from his speech therapy hours to the type of food he got through tubes, research derived.
- One thousand clinicians produced notes and records.
- Records about sessions amounted to a total of 350,000.
Also, such large amounts of data are unprecedented in the past for recovering patients.
The study, in summary, includes 14 papers. According to the main points mentioned in its published version:
The ideal time interval between the injury and rehabilitation should be as small as possible for the best results. So, according to Ryser, his team stays in touch with the ICU. Hence, this allows the patients to be admitted to rehab as soon as possible.
The intensity of the therapy achieved higher priority and preference than its length and amount. Also, in the study, doctors taught most patients to sit up and move around on the bed only. Such practices help patients recover faster. Such is the case with cognitive and motor-related troubles.
Researchers deduced that feeding tubes play a considerable role in the fast recovery of the patient. According to Ryser, taking care of feeding tubes is often a troubling task. So for the staff, it proved it mattered a lot.
- Again, the report mentions a providing diet high in proteins helped the patient a lot.
- At least 25% of the total diet during their entire stay comprises such a high protein diet.
Limitations of Brain Injury Studies?
While such studies often include how patients with severe brain injuries seek treatment, they are not easy to conduct. So this was due to several limitations. So the biggest barrier to such research and studies remains finances.
- This study cost nearly 7 million dollars funded through grants.
Only serious professionals could conduct such a thorough study again. So Nordfelt has thankful thoughts of the staff there. Also, he remains grateful for the positive dealings with them. Most relevant here, he said that Intermountain and similar centers build appreciation. He feels he got his life back due to their efforts.
Volunteering and Giving Back
Hence, Nordfelt has now volunteered there with his wife. Also, he won’t leave any opportunity of giving back. He wants to thank the institution that did so much for him. So Ryser says that after the study and its results, practice-based evidence finally received recognition. And this was well deserved.
He said that brain injury and Psychiatry related rehab are the places where practice-based evidence is the only way to analyze data. Also, it is the best way to reach a result. Contrast this with randomized controlled trials. He says they have not helped much in these cases.
Accepting Practice-Based Evidence
Horn said that NIH has always been reluctant to take practice-based evidence, but things might change in the future. Allegedly, randomized controlled trials have produced the same information over and over.
Check Out the Video of the Scorpion Killing Cancer
I surfed around and found a lot of good info for everyone to peruse. As in the above video, the experimental treatment encouraged Rualo. Physicians are presently using the scorpion venom at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California.
The treatment, Rualo said, takes approximately five minutes. Researchers use synthesized venom injected directly into the brain. The molecules from the venom move throughout the brain. These molecules carry anti-cancer chemicals that attack the cancer cells without any harm to the brain tissue.
City of Hope Cancer Center Dr. Adam Mamelak stated that science’s goal is to discover the wonders of the world, which makes it seem nothing is here by accident. Raulo had no more signs of tumor growth, and he lived for a long time.
- Testing the Venom
There are only two cancer centers nationwide using testing with synthetic scorpion venom in the country. One center is in Duarte, California, City of Hope Cancer Center. Drug trials can still go horribly wrong. But as a brain injury attorney, I am hopeful.
I realize that a treatment like this may not do anything for a closed head injury from a car crash. But it certainly looks promising for the tort mentioned above. The mere fact that it can help with imaging in more tumors means a greater chance of survival.
It also helps the victim get money for the monetary charges when their lawyer is advocating and obtaining money for these treatments on his or her behalf. But it could still go in another direction. It could also lead to medical malpractice lawsuits if things go south.
So it could be that the venom causes some other problem with the human condition. This may turn out to be a miracle cure. If it does, then your lawyer must argue for including it in your future medical care. Lawyers must get their clients the maximum value for their brain injury lawsuit.
Getting Paid For Treatment Means Thinking Outside the Box?
Seeking money damages from a lawyer’s perspective means thinking outside the box. This is another reason why it is so important for a victim to understand a bit about attorneys’ duties. This duty is also why it is equally important for an injury lawyer to stay up on the latest medical news and breakthroughs.
“Tumors “‘Light Up”‘ With New, Unique Imaging System Using Scorpion Venom Protein and a Laser”: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/News/News-Releases-2014/Tumors-Light-Up-With-New-Unique-Imaging-System-Using-Scorpion-Venom-Protein-and-a-Laser.aspx
“Cooperation, Collaboration, Comprehensiveness”: 2001-2009 Annual Report (University of Chicago) –
“Scorpion Venom Treatment May Offer False Hope to Cancer Patients”: https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/scorpion-venom-treatment-offer-false-hope-cancer-patients-20787811.
“Scorpion Venom With Nanoparticles Slows Spread Of Brain Cancer”: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416133816.htm