The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation
181 Broadway – Suite 300
New York, NY 10007
LETTER VIA FACSIMILE/EMAIL: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:01 p.m.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Like all Americans, I want to congratulate you and wish you much success. It is very appropriate that the first letter sent to you as President addresses one of the most critical issues facing your new Administration: catastrophic health care reform.
Not only am I writing to you as our President, but I am writing to you as a father.
My three-year-old daughter, Sarah Jane, was violently shaken by her baby nurse when she was only five days old, breaking three ribs, both collarbones and causing a severe brain injury. Since that day, our family has joined the millions of other families across the country whose child suffers from a pediatric acquired brain injury (PABI).
As you may know, PABI is the #1 leading cause of death and disability for children and young adults in the United States, and the adolescent brain doesn’t finish developing until age 25. PABI is caused by traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, sports-related accidents, blast injuries from war, assaults/child abuse as well as falls, along with non-traumatic causes such as strokes, brain tumors, pediatric AIDS, meningitis, infection, substance abuse and many others.
Until today, there has never been a National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan. The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation (named after my daughter) recently assembled the nation’s leaders in PABI, and together they co-authored the First Draft of the National PABI Plan. With over 1,000 years of combined experience, these experts outlined the current national health care crisis dealing with PABI along with its problems and proposed solutions. As of 12:01 p.m. today, you can view the National PABI Plan on our website at www.TheBrainProject.org. We are calling upon every stakeholder in the field of PABI from around the world to comment and make suggestions to this document by February 6, 2009.
Once the National PABI Plan has been finalized following the public comment period, we will be drafting the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Act of 2009. The PABI Act will ask Congress to establish Centers of Excellence in every state to ensure this National PABI Plan is funded, followed and fulfilled. • If I were to tell you the United States Department of Defense does not have a specific plan distinguishing the veterans with traumatic brain injury whose brains are still developing (up to age 25) from those who have adult brains; you would say not in MY America.
• If I were to tell you a child who was shaken at seven weeks old would not receive a medical evaluation for therapy services for nine months; you would say not in MY America.
• If I were to tell you high school football players have died on the field playing the sport because of an undetected brain injury; you would say not in MY America.
• If I were to tell you the top 20 Pediatric Neurosurgery Departments in our nation do not have a common, evidenced-based methodology for treating a child who suffered a head trauma; you would say not in MY America.
• If I were to tell you there has never been a best-practices study or a longitudinal study in our nation for treating children and young adults with PABI; you would say not in MY America.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in OUR America for children/youth and their families suffering from PABI. Over 3,000,000 children/youth suffer from a PABI each year with most of them going undetected and therefore untreated. Tens of thousands are permanently disabled and thousands of our most innocent Americans die annually due to PABI.
Passing and implementing the PABI Act of 2009 is not only the compassionate and proper action to take, but it will also address many of your significant health care reform items along with the issues listed above. The financial savings from passing such catastrophic health care reforms will be in the billions. The emotional savings are immeasurable.
I look forward to working with you and your Administration in dealing with the national health care crisis called Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury. Please let me know with whom in your office we should coordinate our efforts.
Most respectfully yours,
Patrick B. Donohue, Esq.
Founder of The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and father of Sarah Jane Donohue
P.S. We are planning a very large birthday party for Sarah Jane on June 5, 2009, to celebrate the passing of the PABI Act and it would be an honor to have you sign this historic piece of legislation at her party!
P.P.S. There are those who tell me we cannot get this done before June 5, 2009. I am inspired and follow our nation’s new leader in saying, “Yes we can!”
Vice-President Joseph Biden
The Honorable Thomas Daschle
The Honorable Harry Reid
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Steny Hoyer
The Honorable John Boehner
The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
Deputy Director Jeanne Lambrew