‘Game of Thrones’ Star Reveals Brain Injury Struggles

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Injuries

Because of surgeries in 2011 and 2013, actress Emilia Clarke says she has lost “quite a bit” of her brain function.

“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” she said. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that,” she added. 

After the first procedure to remove an aneurysm, in 2011, she experienced excruciating pain, vision problems, and aphasia. In fact, at one point, Clarke said she couldn’t remember her own name. As she recovered from that procedure, doctors found another aneurysm on the other side of her brain. Doctors removed it in 2013, after it doubled in size.

Clarke insists that she is now “one hundred percent.”

What Causes Brain Injuries?

A brain aneurysm is an example of an acquired brain injury (ABI). An aneurysm is an abnormally large blood vessel in the head, usually between the brain and the thin layer of tissue that covers the brain. If aneurysms leak or rupture, and they usually do, the resulting brain bleed could be fatal.

No one knows what causes brain aneurysms, although some people have some risk factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use. Other ABIs have more definitive causes. Examples include strokes, tumors, meningitis, and heart disease.

These conditions are difficult to diagnose. That’s especially true if, as is often the case, the doctor doesn’t order a full battery of diagnostic tests. If misdiagnosis causes a disease to worsen and cause a brain injury, the doctor may be legally required to pay compensation to the victim.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are a lot more common. Sometimes, these injuries are almost immediately fatal. Other times, they get worse over time, especially if doctors don’t prompt and properly treat them. Major TBI causes include:

  • Car Wrecks: By far, vehicle collisions are the leading cause of TBIs, mostly because these incidents combine all three possible TBI causes. These victims often hit their heads on solid objects. Furthermore, the motion of a wreck causes the brain to smash against the skull. Finally, the sudden loud noise creates a shock wave that disrupts brain functions.
  • Falls: Car wrecks often cause the aforementioned suddenly-fatal head injuries. Falls, on the other hand, often cause moderate TBIs. Initial symptoms, like soreness and disorientation, are soon replaced by personality changes, severe headaches, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). At that point, the injury is almost untreatable.
  • Assaults: These incidents could cause TBIs in several different ways as well. Assaults usually involve falls. Additionally, evildoers usually smack victims on their heads or use knives, bullets, or other weapons that cause severe piercing injuries.
  • Swimming Pool Drownings: Just a few moments below the waves causes hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). As soon as oxygen levels reach a certain point, the brain starts shutting down parts of the body, beginning with the extremities, like fingers and toes, and quickly moving to more vital areas of the body.

Sports-induced brain injuries get a lot of press these days. Statistically, however, these brain injuries only make up a small percentage of the total.

Legal Issues

We mentioned medical negligence regarding ABIs above. Doctors have a fiduciary duty to care for their patients. That’s one of the highest legal standards in Kentucky.

The duty of reasonable care, which usually applies to drivers and property owners, is almost as high. Motorists have a duty to drive defensively, obey the formal and informal rules of the road, and avoid accidents when possible. If a lack of care causes injury, a Lexington personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation in court.

This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

There’s a difference between a simple error and a lack of care. For example, if Timmy is speeding 5mph over the limit, his velocity probably isn’t high enough to cause a crash. If Timmy is speeding 25mph over the limit, that’s different.

Property owners, such as swimming pool owners and hotel owners, usually have a duty of reasonable care as well. Victim/plaintiffs must also prove knowledge and foreseeability.

Knowledge of the hazard that caused the injury could be direct or indirect. Direct evidence of actual knowledge includes restroom cleaning reports, inadequate security reports, and other smoking guns. Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known) usually involves the time-notice rule.

Basically, foreseeability is possibility of injury. This element is especially important in assault claims. Property owners are only liable for assault and other third-party injuries if an injury was foreseeable. Evidence on this point includes the area’s general crime rate and prior similar incidents in the neighborhood.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.