Friday is Sarah Jane Donohue’s fourth birthday. She cannot walk, talk, crawl, or sit up on her own. That’s because she has Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI) from her nurse shaking her when she was only 5 days old. Since then, Sarah Jane’s father, Patrick Donohue started the Sarah Jane Project, a nationwide initiative to combat traumatic brain injury.
“We’re gonna be announcing 52 state lead centers, one for every single state, plus Puerto Rico and District of Columbia, who have agreed to serve as our state lead center to develop a master plan for their state dealing with the leading causing of death and disability for children and young adults in this country. And one of the centers that we are announcing is in South Carolina, which is the Medical University of South Carolina,” says Donohue.
As of now, MUSC will be the only healthcare institution in the state to be a part of the Sarah Jane Project, but Donohue says this is just the start, some other institutions may come on board later.
More than 5,000 deaths, resulting from PTBI, occur every year, and 17,000 patients suffer permanent damage. Donohue describes the whole purpose:
“To develop a seamless, standardized, evidenced-based system of care, universally accessible for all kids and families no matter where they are in the country. So, if you take each piece of that, the seamless piece is the reason why we’re doing this as a national effort. So the concept here is as soon as an inquired brain injury is diagnosed in one state, our state lead center gonna attach themselves to that family and we’re never gonna let go of them,” says Donohue.
Which is part of the role of each institution. On top of that, Donohue says each institution will also develop a master plan for the children and young adults to make sure they have the care, a case-management system for each family, and a regional responsibility, such as a vitual center, including database and medical records. As for his role as a father, Donohue says it is so rewarding to see.
“It has been remarkable the level of collaboration that these incredible institutions, like the Medical University of South Carolina, have stepped up and agreed to collaborate in such a manner. I’ve never seen such nor heard of such a collaboration in such a short amount of time. We just launched the Sarah Jane Project a year and a half ago,” says Donohue.
Donohue says the whole idea of this project is to show that help is on the way. Friday, Donohue and Sarah Jane will join other leading activists on Capitol Hill to announce the nationwide healthcare collaboration, which is the largest of its kind in history.