In 2006, I worked for 6 months as the Clinical Forensic Medicine Registrar at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM). This job involved seeing “live” people with forensic issues, often victims and occasionally perpetrators of assaults, to document their injuries and take forensic samples. One case stuck a particular chord with me – the night I was called by the Police to come into the Melbourne CBD to examine a young man who was covered in blood after he and his friend had been assaulted, late on a Saturday night.
This was the friend of James Macready-Bryan. James had been the victim of a “king-hit” while out celebrating his 20th birthday in the city that night, had fallen to the ground striking his head, and as it turned out, the friend that was with him was covered in blood – from James’ head injury – as he did mouth to mouth on him as instructed over the phone by the 000 operator. James survived, but has a severe acquired brain injury requiring full time care. The random, senseless nature of this incident, and the frequency with which we see patients with similar injuries in the ED has stayed with me over the last 7 years, and prompted me recently to look up his story again. That’s when I discovered the JMB Foundation.
As James was the victim of an assault, and not injured at work or in a vehicle, there was no insurance or government funding to pay for his care. The JMB Foundation was started to help raise funds, provide services for, and to raise awareness of the many young Australians who suffer acquired brain injury each year, many of whom face life in a nursing home.
Last week Amit & I had the honour of meeting James’ father Andrew, and Helen Sykes, the Chair of the JMB Foundation. Their work to improve the lives of young people with acquired brain injury, through fundraising, provision of care and support services, and lobbying for the National Disability Insurance Scheme is amazing. At ETM we have pledged to make a donation of a portion of the funds from each ETM Course to the JMB foundation, in an effort to support the care of young people with acquired brain injury, as we feel this is directly related to our role in teaching medical practitioners about the acute management of traumatic brain injury on the ETM Course.
I can still remember the night I was called out to see James’ friend. I remember the look of shock on his face, and I remember calling the hospital to get an update on James’ condition, and the sinking feeling I had when I spoke to the ED doctor who told me “he had a massive bleed, he went straight to theatre”, knowing full well from that limited amount information that his life, the lives of his friends and their families had just changed drastically for the worse, forever.
So please join us in supporting the JMB Foundation. You can donate through the Everyday Hero website, if you’re an athlete you can fundraise for them by participating in various fun runs and the Melbourne Marathon, or you can donate directly to the JMB Foundation.
ETM Course Director