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Brain Injury in Disruptive Times

A traumatic brain injury can disrupt a life even under normal circumstances. In these extraordinary times, those with a brain injury are particularly vulnerable to the many unknowns that may be faced in future days, weeks, and months. The constant struggle of traumatic brain injury is exacerbated under stressful circumstances.

It is our hope that those who are interacting with brain injury survivors, including medical providers, first responders, legal professionals, families, and friends provide the support, assistance, and special care those with this “invisible injury” require.

We offer the following advice for those interacting with brain injury survivors:

Individuals with a brain injury may be experiencing memory deficits, concentration difficulties, impulsiveness, depression, or poor emotional control. They may have difficulty keeping up with a normal paced conversation, have slowed response to questions, and impaired reading and writing abilities.

What can you do?

  • Treat your patients, friends, and clients with COURTESY and RESPECT.
  • Slow down your conversation.
  • Avoid time pressured meetings.
  • Allow extra time for them to formulate a response.
  • Avoid time pressured meetings.
  • Put important information in writing.
  • Take frequent breaks during meetings.

We offer this advice for individuals with a brain injury and their family members in effectively communicating with medical and legal professionals:

  • You are entitled to be treated with COURTESY and RESPECT. Trust your instincts. If you don’t believe you are being treated properly, consider a different professional.
  • Explain you require extra time to process as a result of your impairments. The challenge here is to not feel rushed, as when stressed your cognition erodes.
  • If distractions bother you, arrange in advance (or if unable to do so in advance when you arrive) for a quiet place to wait.
  • Arrive at your appointment at least 15 minutes ahead of time, so you can collect your thoughts, become settled, and unwind.
  • Write down in advance everything you want to tell or ask your health care or legal professional.
  • Write down instructions you have been given and repeat the information to make sure you understand.
  • Ask your doctor to write down your diagnosis. Ask for a written explanation in layman’s language. Ask for a written description of the preferred treatment and goals, with an estimate of the costs and the expected time frame.
  • Never sign a blank release form. Read what you’re signing and obtain a copy of every document you sign.
  • Ask questions. Ask again if you don’t understand the answer. Ask again if you don’t like the answer. AND ask someone else if you STILL don’t like the answer.

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic

We have created a video series with advice for brain injury survivors, their friends, family, and caregivers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will be releasing daily videos over the coming weeks.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 5

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 5"Everyone may struggle to cope with change. And this is especially true with a situation as dramatic as the current pandemic. For those with brain injuries, the enhanced problems may seem insurmountable. They should be reassured this situation will end. Meanwhile, they may need to rely on loved ones in a more substantial way. People who interact with brain injury survivors, including family members, caretakers, and government officials, must be aware to remind them of the necessary changes in day-to-day life, and reinforce these important safety precautions."Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Part 6

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 6

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 6"A brain injury can disrupt life even under normal circumstances. But in these extraordinary times, those with a brain injury are more vulnerable to the unknowns of future days, weeks, and months. Their constant struggle is exacerbated under stressful circumstances and uncertainty. It is essential for those interacting with brain injury survivors, including medical providers, first responders, legal professionals, families, and friends to provide the support, assistance, and special care people living with the 'invisible injury' require."Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, April 9, 2020

Part 7

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 7

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 7Individuals with a brain injury may experience memory deficits, concentration difficulties, impulsiveness, depression, or poor emotional control. They may have difficulty keeping pace with a conversation, have slowed response to questions, and impaired reading and writing abilities.And these symptoms may be exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic.Here are some practical tips for those interacting with brain injury survivors during these stressful times:• Treat your patients, friends, and clients with COURTESY and RESPECT.• Slow your conversation.• Avoid time pressure in meetings.• Allow extra time for them to formulate a response.• Put important information in writing.• Take frequent breaks during meetings.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Friday, April 10, 2020

Part 8

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 8Advice to effectively communicate with medical and legal professionals for individuals with a brain injury and family members during these stressful times:• You are always entitled to be treated with COURTESY and RESPECT. Trust your instincts. If you believe you are being treated improperly, consider a different professional.• Make clear you require extra time to process. Stress erodes cognition.• To reduce distractions, arrange in advance, or when you arrive, for a quiet place to wait.• Arrive at least 15 minutes early, so you can collect your thoughts, become settled, and unwind.• Write everything you want to discuss with your health care or legal professional in advance. • Write instructions and repeat the information to insure you understand.• Ask your doctor to write your diagnosis and explanation in layman’s terms. Ask for a written description of the preferred treatment and goals, a cost estimate and the expected time frame.• Never sign a blank release form. Read what you’re signing. Obtain a copy of every document you sign. • Ask questions. Ask again if you don’t understand the answer. Ask again if you don’t like the answer. AND ask someone else if you STILL don’t like the answer.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Monday, April 13, 2020

Part 9

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 9

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 9The isolation and fear confronted by many brain injury survivors in these extraordinary times, can be reduced by more frequent communication, emphasizing both caution for the present and hope for the future. This does not minimize the seriousness of the current situation, but reminds them it will end.Regardless of occupation or profession, there is always something a friend, family member, caretaker, or professional, can do, or say, or someone they can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Part 10

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 10

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 10In these turbulent times, the rights of brain injury survivors must be protected.Uncertainty intensifies fears and economic pressures may be mounting. Unfortunately, there are opportunists who may unscrupulously take advantage of brain injury survivors during this period of insecurity. Individuals with a brain injury, should be asked by professionals if they have entered into any new transactions or agreements.Survivors and their families should be aware the legal system can provide needed relief when necessary. Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Part 11

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 11

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 11"Isolation can be frightening.Brain injury survivors with physical and cognitive impairments may suffer sensory overload. They require vital information to be delivered in small amounts. Remember to speak slowly, repeat the information being provided, and obtain feedback it is understood."Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Part 12

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 11

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 11"Isolation can be frightening.Brain injury survivors with physical and cognitive impairments may suffer sensory overload. They require vital information to be delivered in small amounts. Remember to speak slowly, repeat the information being provided, and obtain feedback it is understood."Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Part 13

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 13

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 13The last few weeks have been among the most unnerving and emotional in memory. The impact of Covid19 has been borne by individuals, families, and communities, throughout the United States and around the world. Brain injury survivors, confronting increased feelings of isolation and associated fears must remain connected. Please contact someone you know with a brain injury and let him or her know you care and are thinking of them.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Friday, April 24, 2020

Part 14

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 14

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 14It can be difficult for people with a brain injury to understand the scope of the pandemic and its unusual demands. The need to wear masks, heightened protocols for social distancing, and repeated handwashing may be difficult to comprehend.We ask those interacting with brain injury survivors, including medical providers, first responders, legal professionals, families, and friends, to provide the additional understanding, support, assistance, and special care needed by those with TBI.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Monday, April 27, 2020

Part 15

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 15

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 15Being trapped in an apartment can be frightening.For brain injury survivors, being removed from day programs, club houses, and support groups will amplify their fear and isolation. These feelings may become overwhelming and their symptoms may worsen.Please ensure that anyone you know who is suffering from a brain injury understands that they are not alone, and that support continues to be available.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Part 16

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 16

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 16Coping with a brain injury is never easy. The cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms associated with a TBI may become exaggerated or worsen during these turbulent times.Take a moment to check on a neighbor, friend, family member, or client suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Let them know that they are not alone. Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Part 17

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 17

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 17Individuals with a brain injury are entitled to the same level of treatment as all other persons during the Covid-19 crisis.The United States Office of Civil Rights has confirmed, “Persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative ‘worth’ based on the presence or absence of disabilities or age.” Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, April 30, 2020

Part 18

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 18

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 18The usual day-to-day cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional challenges of living with a traumatic brain injury are exaggerated during the unusual circumstances we confront. Isolation, limited therapy options, fear, and the inability to comprehend or follow instructions, all increase the needs of brain injury survivors. Let a brain injury survivor know they are not alone. Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Friday, May 1, 2020

Part 19

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 19

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 19It can be difficult for any couple occupying the same space without leaving. Sadly, this may lead to a spike in intimate partner violence, which is especially dangerous for those with a brain injury. The added economic and health fears heighten the difficulties. This may result in emotional outbursts, threatening behavior, or even violence. Loved ones and friends should check on brain injury survivors to ensure they are safe. Reassure them there is someone else to talk to, and be sensitive to any domestic issues that need to be addressed.Let a brain injury survivor know they are not alone. Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Part 20

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 20

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 20Governmental restrictions on travel should not impact individuals with brain injuries who are receiving support services and therapy. Telehealth and telemedicine may enable remote delivery of these necessary services and support. If help is needed, individuals should request someone to provide instructions and assistance to utilize a computer, personal desk assistant, or mobile phone to engage in these services.It is important for health care providers to contact patients and clients and provide necessary instruction in accessing these vital services.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Monday, May 11, 2020

Part 21

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 21

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 21There are a small group of Covid-19 patients who develop serious brain impairments. Unusual neurologic symptoms may be signs of Covid-19 and should be investigated immediately.Diminished sense of smell and taste, seizures, tingling or numbness in extremities and an altered mental state may be seen in these patients. These individuals might or might not also exhibit the more common symptoms of fever and dry cough.Friends, family, and professionals must closely monitor people with brain injuries to determine if there is an alteration of mental state or other neurological symptoms which may be rare signs of Covid-19. If they occur, contact a medical professional without delay.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Part 22

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 22

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 22For many brain injury survivors, living alone and being overwhelmed with information from social media sites and the internet, can make it difficult to filter out both misinformation and disinformation. The anxiety and fear caused by this stream of information can be reduced by more frequent communication. Explanations and clarification about what is valid and what is rumor, suggestion, and surmise will reassure. Brain injury survivors should be reminded to verify information with an outside trusted source, loved one, or professional. Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Part 23

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 23

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 23Interactive telehealth, also known as telemedicine, can provide real-time audio and visual interaction for brain injury survivors with their psychologists, psychiatrists, and rehabilitation providers. Patient therapy sessions can be delivered remotely via existing telehealth technology.Telehealth has been recognized as a safe means of delivering care during the current coronavirus public health emergency. It is important that you confirm these services are being provided in a safe and secure HIPAA-compliant manner.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, May 14, 2020

Part 24

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 24

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 24Brain injury survivors may be at high risk for the corona virus because of age, health-related conditions, or close contact with individuals exposed. They may not have access to hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, or sanitizing wipes and may not understand the need for their repeated use. Assistance in providing these essential items and instructions on their use are essential to protect the health and safety of persons with a brain injury. Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Friday, May 15, 2020

Part 25

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 25

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 25In these unprecedented times, brain injury survivors must know where they can obtain information and assistance. The Brain Injury Association of America operates the National Brain Injury Information Center. The trained, knowledgeable, and compassionate operators of this toll-free helpline, 1-800-444-6443, can answer questions and provide resources within your state.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Part 26

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 26

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 26Social distancing does not mean social disconnection. Staying connected with family and friends is an effective coping strategy in these difficult times. According to experts, staying connected even has cognitive benefits. Studies have shown, with proper instructions and support, most brain injury survivors can access social media platforms such as Facetime, Skype, Facebook, and even Zoom to stay connected. Prioritize connecting with and contacting others, even by phone or video chat. Remember, even the telephone is a great and easy way of maintaining communication.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Part 27

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 27

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 27Impulsivity is a frequent symptom experienced by brain injury survivors. During these precarious times, some individuals with a brain injury may ignore instructions to remain at home. If you have a family member, or know someone who may have a tendency toward impulsivity, ask someone they trust to consistently remind them of the dangers they face by failing to maintain social distancing, and reinforce this information yourself.Explain there is a dangerous new virus circulating and everyone should stay home to be safe.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Part 28

Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic: Part 28

An Important Message: Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Corona Virus Pandemic — Part 28The inability to visit residents in a rehabilitation or long-term care center is difficult for everyone.This can be stressful for both the resident, family members, and loved ones. But remember, visiting restrictions are for safety, and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Consider contacting the facility to arrange regular video chats, face time sessions, or telephone calls to ease the anxiety and loneliness associated with social isolation. Many facilities have personal tablet devices or other mobile devices to share with their residents in these extraordinary times to enable them to safely communicate.Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.Find out more ==> https://brainlaw.com/brain-injury-in-disruptive-times/Help support the Brain Injury Association of America ==> https://bit.ly/2UBADrX

Posted by De Caro & Kaplen, LLP on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Please Help Support The Brain Injury Association of America

In these difficult and challenging times, the Brain Injury Association of America requires financial support to continue its mission to assist the millions of Americans living with traumatic brain injury.

All donations — no matter how small — are gratefully received and will make a difference. If you can afford to do so, please consider making a tax-deductible gift at https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=biausa&id=174.

About Shana & Michael

shana de caro & michael v. kaplen

Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen are personal injury attorneys dedicated to assisting brain injury survivors navigate the road after traumatic brain injury. With extensive experience in representing victims of brain trauma, they are prepared to guide brain injury victims through the legal obstacles they will confront and recover full and fair compensation for the harms and losses their clients have suffered as a result of someone’s careless or negligent conduct.

De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is a New York personal injury law firm focused on representing victims of brain injury. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to make a crucial difference in the lives of brain injury victims. Specialized brain injury cases require a law firm with the experience and proficiency to assist brain injury victims through the most difficult legal challenges in their lives following a traumatic brain injury.

Shana and Michael are nationally recognized for their advocacy on behalf of brain injury victims. Shana is Vice Chair of the Brain Injury Association of America . Michael is a three-term past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and current Chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council. They have been designated Preferred Attorneys for the Brain Injury Association of America.

Their opinions on traumatic brain injury are frequently sought by The New York Times, USA Today, The Daily News, Fox News Network, and others. They are widely respected throughout the legal, medical, and judicial communities. The two regularly lecture lawyers, medical professionals, and judges, across the nation on how traumatic brain injury clients and cases should be evaluated and handled in and out of the courthouse.

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