DiversityNursing Blog

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

Dog Escapes From Home, Sneaks Into Hospital 20 Blocks Away To Comfort Sick Owner

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Feb 16, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

By Ryan Grenoble

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"Dogged determination" has a mascot, and it's a miniature schnauzer named "Sissy."

On Sunday, the dog escaped from her yard in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, walked 15 to 20 blocks to the hospital, and then sneaked inside to find her human, Nancy Franck, who has been there recovering from cancer surgery for the last several weeks.

Security camera footage from the hospital shows Sissy enter the building via two sets of motion-activated doors. Once inside, the dog looks around, then puts her nose to the ground and heads straight down the hall, appearing to sniff out a trail.

"We looked up and there was this dog just that was just running across the lobby,” Mercy Medical Center security officer Samantha Conrad told KCRG. Conrad said they looked at her tags and called Sissy's home. Nancy's husband, Dale, answered and was relieved to conclude an hours-long search for the dog.

Sadly, Sissy couldn't stay in the hospital, but she was permitted to briefly visit with Nancy before Dale took her back home.

Nancy told KWWL it was "a big boost" to spend time with the devoted dog. "It helped a lot," she said, "just to see her and talk to her."

The Francks say they've never taken Sissy to the hospital, reports note, so they aren't sure how she knew to navigate there. Since Nancy works in a building near the hospital, they speculated the dog had been in the car when Nancy was dropped off one day, and somehow found her way back.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Topics: surgery, recovery, dog, cancer, hospital, patient, owner

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

FDA clears robotic legs for some paralyzed people

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

By Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind set of robotic leg braces that can help some disabled people walk again.

The ReWalk system functions like an exoskeleton for people paralyzed from the waist down, allowing them to stand and walk with assistance from a caretaker.

The device consists of leg braces with motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance. A harness around the patient's waist and shoulders keeps the suit in place, and a backpack holds the computer and rechargeable battery. Crutches are used for stability.

ReWalk is intended for people who are disabled due to certain spinal cord injuries.

The device was developed by the founder of Israel-based Argo Medical Technologies, who was paralyzed in a 1997 car crash.

Source: news.msn.com

Topics: recovery, FDA, robotic, medical

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