CQ man gets Australia-first implant for pain after car crash
IN AN Australian first, a Yeppoon man has become one of the first recipients of a new device aimed at combating chronic pain.
Thomas Taylor was seriously injured when the car he was a passenger in was reversed into a tree stump.
Mr Taylor was a self- employed painter at the time.
When the car crashed, Mr Taylor was thrown forwards and then backwards in his seat despite wearing a seatbelt.
He felt pain and nausea immediately and quickly developed a headache.
As a result of the crash, Mr Taylor suffered soft-tissue injuries in the cervical spine, was concussed and diagnosed with occipital neuralgia.
Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache with piercing, throbbing or electric shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck and back of the head.
Mr Taylor has lodged a claim against the driver of the car and insurance company AAI Limited under Queensland's compulsory third-party insurance scheme.
According to documents lodged in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton, Mr Taylor is claiming nearly $1.3 million for past and future economic loss, and ongoing medical expenses.
Me Taylor experienced "a buzzing sensation" on the right-hand side of his neck, plus chronic pain.
After being able to get only temporary relief from cortisone injections, he became one of the first people in Australia to have a occipital stimulator installed at the base of his skull.
The device connects to a battery pack that administers an electric charge to divert the pain sensations.
It was the first time in Australia the device had been inserted into the occipital region and doctors consulted with US surgeons before the operation.
While it has been effective in treating his condition, it does restrict upper body movement.
Something as simple as playing with his son could interfere with the stimulator's wires.
Mr Taylor's lawyer, Meghan Rothery from Maurice Blackburn at Rockhampton, said the operation was necessary given the "increasingly unbearable" level of pain Mr Taylor had after the accident.
"Mr Taylor's claim is significant because whilst the occipital stimulator has been very effective in controlling the pain, it hasn't removed the physical restrictions that prevent Mr Taylor from earning a living," Ms Rothery said.
"The occipital stimulator has wires beneath the skin, but these can be dislodged if Mr Taylor moves too much.
"Medical evidence tells us that Mr Tylor won't be able to return to painting and he isn't trained for anything else.
"If successful the claim will provide for the client's lost income and ongoing medical needs."