DiversityNursing Blog

A Car Accident Left This Pregnant Woman In A Coma. She Just Woke Up To A Miracle

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 20, 2015 @ 11:16 AM

www.sunnyskyz.com

The Giles family is celebrating two miracles after the 20 year-old mom opened her eyes and saw a picture of her newborn child.

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Sharista Giles awakened this week from a four month coma that doctors had feared would be permanent and learned that she had given birth to a baby boy.

Sharista was four-months pregnant when she was involved in a car crash near Nashville, Tennessee. Doctors told her family she had a 10% chance of coming out of the coma.

"The doctors were telling us there was nothing else they could do," her aunt Beverly Giles, 49, told ABC News. "They already gave up hope. We never gave up. She's fought this hard."

The infant, who is being called "Baby L" until his mom is able to give him a proper name, weighed just over 1 pound when he was welcomed into the world a month after the accident.

But now he's healthy, weighing 6 pounds and 4 ounces, and proving he's as strong as his mother - who still hasn't spoken yet.

Sharista's father held up a picture of "Baby L" when she woke up, and she never took her eyes off the image, her aunt told ABC News. "When he turned around to put it back on the bulletin board, she turned her neck, her whole head trying to follow and find the picture again."

Topics: coma, miracle, newborn, health, healthcare, baby, nurse, doctors, hospital

Doctors Recommended She Pull The Plug On Her Husband. She Refused, And Then He Woke Up

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Apr 08, 2015 @ 12:09 PM

www.sunnyskyz.com 

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Matt and Danielle Davis had been married only seven months when a devastating motorcycle accident left Matt on life support and in a coma.

Given only a 10% chance of waking up, Davis told WTOC that doctors advised her to pull the plug on her husband. She recalled hearing them say, "That's what they'd want their family to do."

Danielle refused to give up on him. "We didn't really have a chance to start our life together, I wasn't going to give up."

Matt spent three months in the coma, and moved from the hospital to their home where Danielle cared for him 24/7.

Then one day, against all odds, Matt said, "I'm trying."

He eventually came out of his coma, but he didn't remember anything that had happened in the last three years. He retained no memory of his father's death, or even meeting and marrying his wife.

But in the time that has passed since the accident, Matt has made amazing progress. Physical therapy has helped him learn to walk again.

They play scrabble and enjoy going to yoga classes together, and he's recently started driving a stick shift car for fun because he loves cars.

"One conversation with Matt will change your life," Danielle shared. "He has a servant's heart and a love for people. He never complains or feels anger about his circumstance. He just wants to make a difference and give hope."

The couple is currently trying to raise funds for Matt to continue his therapy.

Topics: recovery, coma, physical therapy, home care, health, healthcare, doctors, hospital, treatment, life support

Coma Patients Show Improved Recovery From Hearing Family Voices

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

By David McNamee

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It has been a dramatic plot device within countless movies and soap operas, but now a new study from Northwestern Medicine and Hines VA Hospital, both in Illinois, has attempted to answer the question: can the voices of family members and loved ones really wake coma patients from unconsciousness?

A coma is defined as an unconscious condition in which the patient is unable to open their eyes. When a patient begins to recover from a coma, they progress first to a minimally conscious or "vegetative state," though these states can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years.

Lead author Theresa Pape was inspired to conduct the new study - the results of which are published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair - while working as a speech therapist for coma patients with traumatic brain injuries. Pape observed that patients appeared to respond better to family members than to strangers.

From this, Pape began to wonder if patients' ability to recover might be increased if therapists were able to stimulate and exercise people's brains while they were unconscious.

As part of the randomized, placebo-controlled study, 15 patients with traumatic closed head injuries who were in a minimally conscious state were enrolled to Familiar Auditory Sensory Training (FAST). The 12 men and three women had an average age of 35 and had been in a vegetative state for an average of 70 days before the FAST treatment began.

At the start of the study, Pape and her colleagues used bells and whistles to test how responsive the patients were to sensory information. They also assessed whether the patients were able to follow directions to open their eyes or if they could visually track someone walking across the room.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was also used to get a baseline impression of how blood oxygen levels in the patients' brains changed while listening to both familiar and unfamiliar voices tell different stories.

The therapists then asked the patients' families to look at photo albums to identify and piece together at least eight important stories concerning events that the patient and their family took part in together.

"It could be a family wedding or a special road trip together, such as going to visit colleges," Pape explains. "It had to be something they'd remember, and we needed to bring the stories to life with sensations, temperature and movement. Families would describe the air rushing past the patient as he rode in the Corvette with the top down or the cold air on his face as he skied down a mountain slope."

Patients were more responsive to unfamiliar voices after 6 weeks of therapy

The stories were rehearsed and recorded by the families and then played to the coma patients for 6 weeks. Following this listening period, the MRI tests were repeated, with blood oxygen levels being taken while the patients listened to their stories being told by familiar and unfamiliar voices.

The MRI recorded a change in oxygen levels when the unfamiliar voice was telling the story, but there was no change from baseline levels for the familiar voice.

Pape says that these findings demonstrate a greater ability to process and understand speech among the patients, as they are more responsive to the unfamiliar voice telling the story: "At baseline they didn't pay attention to that non-familiar voice. But now they are processing what that person is saying.''

At this point in the treatment, the researchers also found that the patients were less responsive to the sound of a small bell ringing than they had been at the start of the study. The team believes that this indicates the patients were now better able to discriminate between different types of audio information and decide what is most important to listen to.

"Mom's voice telling them familiar stories over and over helped their brains pay attention to important information rather than the bell," Pape says. "They were able to filter out what was relevant and what wasn't."

The first 2 weeks were found to be the most important period for treatment and demonstrated the biggest gains. The remaining 4 weeks of treatment saw smaller, more incremental gains.

"This gives families hope and something they can control," Pape says of the treatment, recommending that families work with a therapist to help construct stories that augment the other therapies the patient may be undergoing.

Now, the team is analyzing the study data to investigate whether the FAST treatment strengthened axons - the fibers that make up the brain's "wiring" and transmit signals between neurons.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Topics: recovery, coma, voices, family, nurse, research, medical, hospital, patient, treatment, physicians

Man awakens from 12 years in 'vegetative state'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:33 PM

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Martin Pistorius fell into a mysterious coma when he was a vibrant 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.

He found himself locked inside his own body – unable to speak, make eye contact or even move his own limbs.

Martin’s doctors told his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, that the boy had cryptococci meningitis. They said Martin should be taken home to die in peace.

But Martin would live 12 years in that vegetative state.

Joan said, “Martin just kept going, just kept going.”

According to NPR, Martin’s father would wake up every day at 5 a.m., dress the boy, put him in the car and drive him to a special care center.

“Eight hours later, I’d pick him up, bathe him, feed him, put him in bed, set my alarm for two hours so that I’d wake up to turn him so that he didn’t get bedsores,” Rodney recalled.

And during those 12 years, according to the Pistorius family, there was never any indication that Martin’s condition was improving.

One day, Joan, in a state of hopelessness, told her son, “I hope you die.”

She never imagined that Martin would have understood those dreadful words.

Have you worked with a patient in a similar situation and thought perhaps he/she could hear and understand you? If so, what made you aware of it?

But by the time he was 14 or 15 years old, Martin began to awaken.

“Yes, I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up,” Martin recalls. “I was aware of everything, just like any normal person. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone.”

Martin had even heard his mother’s cruel words.

“You don’t really think about anything,” he said. “You simply exist. It’s a very dark place to find yourself because, in a sense, you are allowing yourself to vanish.”

Martin added, “As time passed, I gradually learned to understand my mother’s desperation. Every time she looked at me, she could see only a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much.”

At the care center every day, Martin’s caregivers played “Barney” reruns. They too believed he was a vegetable.

He said, “I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney.”

Now Martin, 39, is in full control of his body. He’s married and lives a normal life in Harlow, England.

In his book “Ghost Boy,” he writes, “My mind was trapped inside a useless body, my arms and legs weren’t mine to control and my voice was mute. I couldn’t make a sign or sounds to let anyone know I’d become aware again. I was invisible – the ghost boy.”

Source: www.wnd.com

Topics: coma, illness, body, vegetative state, cryptococci meningitis, special care, unexplained, medical, hospital, treatment

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