Young woman refused service from bar as her brain injury was mistaken for drunkenness

The family of young woman who was refused service at a bar because her brain injury was mistaken for drunkenness has called for more awareness of how people cope with head trauma.

Staff at a Doncaster centre pub refused to sell drinks to Danielle Stoton, 19, who was seriously injured in a car crash 18 months ago.

She had been out at the pub on Saturday lunchtime with her mum, Michelle, and another friend who had also suffered serious injuries in a crash. 

The pub has subsequently apologised, said it will retrain its staff, and offered to meet with Miss Stoton to try and resolve the situation. Spokesman Eddie Gershon said "we apologise wholeheartedly to the lady. She should have been served. This was a mistake by a member of staff. However, there was no malice intended."

Michelle, from Armthorpe, Doncaster, said "it was a huge step for Danielle to feel able to go to a busy bar and order drinks. It was a reflection of her growing confidence and a big step in her recovery but what happened has been a nightmare and reinforced how difficult it is for her to do something as simple as ordering a drink.

"My daughter had made amazing progress and is really determined to live independently and come back stronger, but this has just been a real setback for her.

"We want to make sure people know about the symptoms of brain injury and educate people as to how to help deal with them. Danielle carries an ID card from the charity Headway to show she has a brain injury and, despite showing this to the bar staff, we still had a problem.

"We want to make sure everyone knows about this incident so that it raises awareness of brain injury and the consequences of brain injury.
Survivors of brain injury need the support of society to help them move on with their lives."

Danielle was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash in August 2014. The driver of the car which hit the teenager was later jailed for eight months. Caroline Mitchell, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said "sadly it is not uncommon for those with a brain injury to be mistaken for being drunk because of the way they walk or speak. "Headway, the Brain Injury Association, suggests that brain injury survivors carry a Brain Injury Survivors ID card to raise awareness of brain injury - but unfortunately showing this did not appear to help.

"What has happened will be a blow to Danielle's confidence but hopefully she will now bounce back, staff at the pub will learn from this and others will take note to prevent similar situations occurring in future."
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