Did Wild West Gunfighter Clay Allison Have a Brain Injury?

Roughly two hundred and forty years ago this month, two of the most famous gunslingers in the West, Clay Allison and Wyatt Earp, supposedly confronted one another in a Dodge City saloon. Earp later claimed that Allison backed down, but that assertion has never been proven.

What is known is that Allison was one of the most violent men in a very violent time. Previously, in 1874, Allison dined with notorious gunman Chunk Coleman before shooting him in the head in a New Mexico hotel. When someone asked Allison why he had supper with the man before murdering him, Allison cooly explained that he “didn’t want to send a man to hell on an empty stomach.” A year later, Allison played a role in a lynching. Afterward, he dragged the corpse through the rough brushes and rocks of the New Mexico wilderness.

Allison married a short time later, and family life seemed to have calmed him. Nevertheless, his erratic behavior continued. On one occasion, a local dentist accidentally worked on the wrong tooth. Allison tracked him down, pinned him to the floor, and pulled out one of the man’s teeth with a pair of pliers.

A wagon accident killed Allison in Texas in 1887. His tombstone includes the very questionable assertion that he was a “gunfighter and a gentleman” that “never killed a man who did not need killing.”

Before all these things happened, the Confederate Army gave Allison a medical discharge because of a “partly epileptic and partly maniacal” condition. Historians speculate that Allison suffered a brain injury in early childhood. That would explain both his discharge and his rather checked Old West activities.

Brain Injury Causes

Traumatic Brain Injuries send millions of people to hospital emergency rooms every year. Unfortunately, doctors send a significant number of these victims home without giving them proper medical treatment. Head injuries do not cause visible bleeding or swelling, and they may not be very painful. Therefore, doctors often misdiagnose head injuries as shock from the incident or even early-onset dementia.

Another reason for this confusion is that brain injuries have a number of different causes. Most f them are not even physical injuries in the traditional sense of the word. The three most common head injury causes are:

  • Trauma: Even though the skull is very thick, it does not take much physical force to cause a brain injury. Brainerd, MN injury lawyers often deal with these wounds in car crashes and serious falls. As outlined below, trauma brain injury treatment requires several different approaches.
  • Motion: A person can scramble an egg just by shaking it. It’s not necessary to crack the shell. A brain injury can occur the same way. Violent motion, like whiplash n a car crash, often scrambles the brain without breaking the skull.
  • Sudden Loud Noise: Explosive blasts and other sudden loud noises trigger shock waves which disrupt brain functions. These shock waves have made TBIs the “signature wound” of the Iraq and Afganistan Wars, according to many doctors. Many witnesses say that the noise of a car crash sounds like an explosion, so it may have the same effect on the brain.

Brain injury symptoms vary almost as much as the causes. Initially, most people suffer a loss of consciousness. That could be complete incapacitation or a dazed feeling. Different people react differently to different causes. Soon afterward, victims begin experiencing tinnitus (ringing in the ears), headaches, and like Allison, personality changes. Eventually, if the injury is not properly treated, victims experience dementia-like symptoms and even death.

Damages in a brain injury case typically include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.

Brainerd, MN Injury Lawyers and Brain Injury Treatments

The financial compensation which Brainerd, MN injury attorneys help deliver does more than bring justice to victims. It also gives them the financial resources they need to obtain the treatment they need.

In trauma brain injury situations, this treatment often includes emergency surgery. Doctors must act quickly to relieve brain bleeding and swelling.

In all situations, brain injuries require extensive physical therapy. The therapist has a big job. Brain injury therapists must train uninjured parts of the brain to take over any lost functions. That’s because brain injuries are always permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. Additionally, the permanent nature of these injuries make the road to recovery a long and winding one. Progress usually takes place in fits and starts.

Contact a Tenacious Attorney

A serious brain injury has lifelong effects. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. You have a limited amount of time to act.

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