Scott N. conducted the following interview of Dr. Deters via written correspondence. Dr. Deters practices at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Spaulding is one of the premier rehab hospitals in New England and the entire country for the treatment of brain injury. Dr. Deters has been treating Scott once a week for several years. Scott usually prepares a written list of things he wants to discuss with the doctor. This is an excellent memory aid. We hope that this info is interesting and informative and thank Scott and Dr. Deters for their contribution and time.How long have you been working with head injured people?
I have been working with head injured people since 1984, so about 15 years. I did a post doctoral fellowship that year in clinical neuropsychology and part of the time was at New England Rehabilitation Hospital where I saw many head injured patients.
What kind of work do you do with them (so people reading the newsletter know where you are coming from?)
Since my training is in neuropsychology I sped most of my time trying to help patients with changes in their cognition (attention, memory problems, etc.) and changes in their emotional functioning that can result from brain injury. I usually start out with a thorough neuropsychological evaluation and then develop a plan to help them with these problems either by myself or with other rehabilitation specialists.
Do you think that societys attitudes have changed toward head injured people since you started working in this area? And in what ways?
Yes I do. There is now much more information about head injury then there was when I started working in this area. As a result, more people are educated about it, and have a greater understanding of the many difficulties that head injured people experience on a day to day basis. But a real change in attitude takes a long time, so we need to continue to work at it.
What do you think society needs to do to realize we are people too?
As I said above, education in is the key. Most of us are afraid of something we are not familiar with it, which is the case with head injury. As people become educated they will develop understanding and empathy.
How could we improve the care of the head injured population?
We need to continue to do research into the most effective rehabilitation approaches, and ways in which we can get society to make the adaptations that will help head injured individuals to live as independently as possible.
Revised: Saturday, February 23, 2002 08:42 AM