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Traffic fine increase would help brain injured

February 21, 2002

Traffic fine increase would help brain injured



Annapolis

By LAURA ERNDE
laurae@herald-mail.com


If not for the support of his family, Tony Dattilio of Hagerstown told a Senate committee he would be living in a nursing home since suffering a traumatic brain injury nine years ago.

Dattilio and others asked the committee to pass legislation to raise money for people like himself who are struggling with their injuries.

A proposal before the General Assembly would increase court fees on a traffic citation from $3 to $7. The money raised would be used to help those with traumatic brain injuries become productive members of society.

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Even when insurance covers basic medical care, it often doesn't pay for rehabilitation, witnesses testified.

Since his accident at Jamison Door, Dattilio has trouble remembering things that just happened. He has burned pans on the stove and for that reason he can't be left alone, he said.

"Just this afternoon we lost track of him in the building," his daughter-in-law Melinda Dattilio told the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Keith Nicodemus of Hagerstown testified about his motorcycle accident 12 years ago.

When he went to the hospital, he was brought back to life two times and spent four days in a coma. Despite his trauma, he's been able to return to work as a heavy equipment operator.

"If you listen to all those stories, I'm the fluke," he said.

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