Wisconsin Students Launch Fundraiser Brain Injury Survivor
Thomas Hapka, 48, of Whitewater was 29 at the time of the accident and 18 years later has never received a legal settlement due to loopholes in Wisconsin's malpractice statutes. Hapka is now in danger of losing his home.
Medical records show Hapka suffered a massive stroke when the chiropractor tore a vital artery in his neck. Records further indicate the local ER did not order a brain scan and misdiagnosed Hapka with an ear infection. Hapka was close to death by the time a large regional medical center correctly diagnosed the brain injury more than two days later.
Hannah Maes, a Marketing major, hopes Hapka's story can be used to raise awareness and save lives.
"When it comes to brain injuries, time lost is brain lost," Maes said. "Delays in care can be fatal. Tom barely survived his late diagnosis, and many others aren't so lucky."
Hapka's story inspired students from UW-Whitewater to create Life Beyond Brain Injury. The group is raising funds for Hapka's ongoing medical needs and organizing events for Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Life Beyond Brain Injury will be hosting a Brain Injury Policy Day Town Hall with Wisconsin lawmakers on Tuesday, March 19th at 3 p.m. in the Whitewater City Council Chamber, at 312 W. Whitewater Street. Senator Janis Ringhand, Senator Steve Nass, and Representative Don Vruwink will join members of the community in discussing Hapka's injury and possible policy solutions.
Logan McHone, a senior Communication major at UW-Whitewater, sees cause for optimism in the upcoming town hall.
"There is so much misinformation about traumatic brain injuries, and I'm excited that lawmakers are showing interest in the issue and discussing solutions." McHone said.
Those interested in learning more about the town hall are encouraged to call 262.458.4090 or visit https://www.lifebeyondbraininjury.org/
Life Beyond Brain Injury, 262.458.4090