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Brain injury and stroke give ex-nurse an Irish accent

Brain injuries can manifest themselves in strange and unexpected ways. A former nurse who resides in Fairfax, is recovering from a traumatic brain injury suffered in an auto accident. She is struggling with the usual consequences of damage to the brain, but she also has another condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome. She now speaks with an Irish accent even though she has never visited Ireland.

The accident occurred in 2010, when she was rear-ended by a driver who had been texting and did not see her car. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, a stroke and a spinal cord injury. The nurse recalled that when she awoke from the anesthesia after surgery, she spoke with what she called a Jamaican accent. (Foreign Accent Syndrome typically emerges while the person is under anesthesia.) As time passed, the accent became more Irish and less Jamaican. According to a cognitive rehabilitation specialist with the Brain Injury Services in Springfield, Virginia, the accident causes a mild apraxia, in which the brain no longer sends proper signals to the patient's muscles.

The woman does not enjoy her Irish accent. She says that her language center was damaged in the accident. She says that the Irish accent is not cool or fun, but she understands that other people may find the accent interesting because it is different. The nurse has also suffered memory loss in the accident, and she is unable to work. Her current support system comprises here three children, her husband and her dog Snowball.

Anyone who has suffered a serious brain injury can face years recovering from the effects of the injury. Extensive medical care may be required to assist the victim to tend to the mundane tasks of everyday life. Persons with such injuries may have a claim for damages against any person or party who was at fault for the accident. A consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide a helpful overview of the facts and law that will determine the outcome of the case.

Source: WUSA9, "Brain injury and stroke caused foreign accent syndrome in former nurse," Peggy Fox, March 19, 2018

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