Brian Webster to Co-Chair Brain Injury Conference

TLABC Brain Injury Conference 2011:
The Anatomy of a Brain Injury Case: Focus on the Frontal Lobes

May 13-14, 2011
Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Vancouver, Canada

Brain Webster, QC, is co-chairing the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia’s brain injury conference with Harvard trained addictions psychiatrist Dr. Shaohua Lu. This year’s conference will be held on May 13th and 14th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, with the theme The Anatomy of a Brain Injury Case: Focus on the Frontal Lobes.

The conference is aimed at lawyers, physicians and allied health professionals.  It is geared towards educating those with limited brain injury experience to those with a significant history in the field. It aims to provide attendees with tangible, practical, and theoretical information on brain injuries. A number of renowned, legal and medical professionals will provide their insight into key elements of a brain injury case: from incident and diagnosis, to treatment and successful prosecution of brain injury litigation cases. Medical physiology, imaging and behavioural aspects of frontal lobe presentation will also be covered.  As well, special guest Neil Sugarman, one of the UK’s leading litigation experts on shaken baby syndrome, will  provide unique perspective on the Canadian system in comparison to Great Britain.


Legal speakers include:

  • Brian Webster, QC, Solicitor, Webster & Associates
  • Daniel Corrin, Lawyer, Webster & Associates
  • Neil Sugarman, Solicitor, GLP Solicitors
  • Mike Slater, QC, Founding Partner, Slater Vecchio
  • Albert Roos, QC, Founding Partner, Sugden, McFee & Roos LLP
  • Richard Lindsay, QC, Partner, Lindsay Kenney LLP
  • Linda Wong, Senior Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Pacific Medical Law
  • Avon Mersey, Partner, Fasken Martineau

Medical speakers include:

  • Dr. Shaohua Lu, Addictions Psychiatrist
  • Dr. Cherly Wellington, Brain Injury Research Pathologist
  • Dr. Joe Tham, Neuropsychiatrist
  • Dr. Nick Bogod, Neuropsychologist
  • Dr. Manrag Heran, Neuroradiologist
  • Dr. Bradley Allen Fritiz, GP

Videos: “A Day in the Life” and “Aquired Brain Injury”

Conference attendees and speakers are encouraged to watch the below videos as they will serve as harmonizing features of the conference. Please bring your comments and thoughts about the videos with you to the conference. Please note that the videos will also be shown at the event.

“A Day in the Life” provides a glimpse into the life of Christina MacEachern, a severly brain injured woman. Christina suffered severe bi-frontal lobe injuries on September 12th, 2005 when her head came into contact with a semi-trailer truck. A 60-minute video of Christina (post-injury) was produced by Shawn Serdar of Pacific Producers Group and was shown by Christina’s counsel (Webster & Associates) during her trial. This 13 minute, edited version of the video has kindly been made available by Christina’s guardian for educational purposes.


“Aquired Brain Injury” was produced by Dean Powers, a Rehabilitation Consultant and Vocational Expert. The video follows a Q&A format, documenting the feedback of six suvivors with varying degrees of brain injury. It looks at the impact of brain injury on these individuals’ personal and professional lives, including the barriers to employment they have faced.


For more information and to register to attend this event, please visit the TLABC website.

Dr. Duhaime on concussions

I had the privilege of attending grand rounds at VGH where the guest lecturer was neurosurgeon Dr. Christine Ann Duhaime discussing new research on ‘concussion’.  I first became aware of her work while working on a Shaken Baby Case, because she was the neurosurgeon whose work resulted in the description of the most common symptoms of shaken baby syndrome known as ‘Duhaime’s triad’.  Dr. Duhaime was presenting on her work in the area of concussion and concussion in sport.  I found the talk  fascinating.  Dr. Duhaime described the studies she is involved in at some American universities.  They are installing sensors in the helmet’s of football players that measure the forces on the player’s heads as they play throughout the year.  Essentially, the data gathered shows rotational, angular and direct impact forces in “G-Forces” which is then compared to the reports of concussion.  The science is fantastic, but I expect that the researchers in the audience were disappointed with small sample sizes and the need for longitudinal studies and consistent measures.  She candidly stated that the science does not show any specific cut off for angular, direct or other force that can be related to result.  In other words, “host specific” or individual differences between individuals are important, but difficult to study.  Some people sustain huge forces with no impacts, but others develop concussions and symptoms with less force.

Dr. Duhaime described the fMRI studies that were conducted on some of the players following there concussions. Apparently they were given basic neuro-psychological testing while the fMRI studies were performed.  Comparing these test results to those who were not concussed revealed much greater areas of brain utilization amongst the concussed individuals, although the two groups scored the same on the testing.  This result is not surprising to those who have worked in this field, as our client’s constantly describe how they put in much more “cognitive” efforts to accomplish necessary tasks, resulting in cognitive fatigue and other sequalae.  While we have come far in our ability to image and see brain anatomy and physiology, we still don’t know who will sustain injury and who will have a difficult course of recovery.

Dr. Duhaime was also candid in describing her own history and that of neurosurgery.  She spoke about how medicine has changed from her perspective – where in the 1980’s a neurosurgeon might have told a patient that ““it’s just a concussion”, today, she would tell patient’s that it is a “brain injury”.  She believes that instead of denying injury to the brain, the focus should be on the recovery and on the potential for the individual to recover function.

We welcome your comments or suggestions about topics to cover.  Please check back for new posts.