While the Titanic is definitely the most famous maritime disaster it is actually not the largest one in the sad history of maritime disasters. Canada also holds a sad record in this history. The infamous Halifax explosion that devastated the city of Halifax, is currently the largest non-nuclear man-made accidental explosion in the history of mankind with the highest death doll of about 2,000 people killed and estimated over 9,000 people were injured. While many people say that maritime disasters are one of the most dangerous, the Halifax Explosion is the one that shows how dangerous they can really be. The tragedy occurred on December 6, 1917 at the time of the First World War. The SS Mont-Blanc, a cargo ship that was chartered by the government to carry munitions to Europe collided with unloaded Norwegian ship Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to carry relief supplies. While Imo was unloaded at the moment, the SS Mont-Blanc was fully loaded with wartime explosives. The collision itself occurred at 8.40, at 8.50 Mont-Blanc caught fire, drifted toward the peers and exploded fifteen minutes later. The explosion was equivalent to roughly 3 kilotons of TNT, which is actually one fifth of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had estimated power of 15 kilotons. The fireball rose over 1.2 miles into the air and the explosion obliterated all the buildings and structures within 2 square kilometers including buildings in the communities of Richmond and Dartmouth. The explosion also caused an 18 meter high tsunami that covered the harbor. It is impossible to tell what the reason of the explosion was, most probably it was criminal negligence be the crew members of one of the ships. Like many other disasters this one has a very good ground for investigation and even trial, but the devastating power of the explosion was so huge that there is literally no one left to sue.
As for the legal side of such navigation problems as the Halifax explosion, it would be regulated by the Canadian criminal code, because it occurred in the Canadian waters. As for the Maritime Laws in general there are two types of law – Admiralty Law (Maritime Law) and Law of the Sea. The Admiralty Law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. Because the ships that roam the oceans and seas can belong to various companies and countries this law is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans. The main matters that it deals with are: marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, the transportation of passengers and goods by sea and also a number of land based commercial activities that are maritime in character. The Law of the Sea is a body of public international law and has another scope of problems. It is dealing with navigational rights, mineral rights, and jurisdiction over coastal waters and international law governing relationships between nations.
Traumatic Brain Injury and Its Effects on Balance
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can have a serious impact on many aspects of the human body’s ability to function normally, including a person’s ability to maintain balance. A TBI is defined as brain damage caused by a severe trauma to the head and can cause a large number of problems. Balance impairments (also sometimes called balance dysfunctions or balance disorders) are common for some following a TBI. One unexpected aspect of this problem is that compared to other medical conditions that can cause balance impairments (such as strokes or seizures), there has been relatively little study into the effects of brain injury on balance. Fortunately however, this is changing.
Symptoms of Balance Disorders
Balance disorders occur, at least temporarily, in nearly all people who have suffered a TBI. This instability can exist even when neurological tests do not detect any problems.
Symptoms common to balance impairments can include:
* Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, woozy or a sensation of spinning (vertigo)
* Burred vision
* Falling or unsteady gait (feeling of falling)
Diagnosing Balance Disorders
Maintaining balance is a complex multifunctional process that involves interplay between three systems:
* Vestibular system (the inner ear balance organs)
* Visual system (eyes)
* Somatosenory system (joint and muscle receptors or sensors)
Normally, the brain receives and processes information about the environment and these systems work together to control balance. The primary test that is used to assess balance impairment is the Sensory Organization Test (SOT), which is conducted by evaluating each of the the three balance systems. Balance Impairment and Severity of Traumatic Brain Injury
The severity of TBI is determined using several measures such as:
* Glasgow Coma Test
* Length of unconsciousness (time in a coma)
* Length of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA)
For TBI patients beginning rehabilitation, there is a significant relationship between TBI severity and degree of sitting and standing balance impairment. Patients with more severe TBI ratings also have more impaired balance ratings.
Recovery from Balance Disorders Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury
A study at Wayne State University found that the degree of balance impairment for brain-damaged patients (specifically sitting balance impairment), measured at time of admission to rehabilitation can predict the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) at discharge. FIM illustrates how well patients recovering from a TBI can live independently after they are discharged. The relationship between balance impairment, brain injury severity, the prognosis for recovery from a TBI is underscored by this study.
For cases of mild traumatic brain injury in which there was no loss of consciousness and no clinically detectable problems, balance impairments (as measured by performance on the Sensory Organization Test), usually last from 3 to 10 days. However, subtle balance impairments that are harder to detect, such as abnormally high reliance on vision for maintaining balance, can persist for months or years.
Individual treatment plans for balance disorders may include balance retraining exercises, general exercise, and certain drugs. Recovery takes time and recovery times vary. Some brain-injured people require assistance for years. If you have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you may wish to contact an experienced TBI attorney to help you assess your claim and gain compensation for your medical expenses, future medical care, and the pain and suffering that brain damage and brain injury can cause.