Illustrated Medicine: Case Study

Shoulder Injury From Head-on Collision

Incident
This left-handed 56-year-old driver was involved in a head-on collision, causing soft tissue damage to her left
shoulder as well as other injuries.

Purpose of illustration
This panel was created to show the mechanism of injury to her AC joint and supraspinatus tendon, resulting from
a significant seatbelt force being suddenly applied to her shoulder during impact.

Rationale for litigation visual
The transmission of forces from the shoulder belt, to the clavicle and thereby to the bones and tissues of the
shoulder, were key concepts to be communicated at trial. The illustration served to ‘translate’ the opinion of the
biomedical engineer into a visual format, allowing for clear understanding.

Complications
Ms. May went on to experience persistent pain in her shoulder, reflecting the effects of inflammation and scarring
of tendons, ligaments and bursa, with secondary mechanical effects.

Other visuals demonstrated
Additional illustrations showed more detailed findings of the shoulder pathology, as well as left knee injury
concepts.

Outcome
Plaintiff’s lawyer, Norma Mayer, opined that “…the illustration was instrumental in resolving the file at mediation.”