Rocker Bret Michaels is “extremely lucky,” being one of the minority of those who make a full recovery after having a subarachnoid hemorrhage, his doctor told reporters Tuesday.
“At this point I can tell you that Mr. Michaels has been recently discharged,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, the neurosurgeon who treated the singer.
“He continues to receive therapies and we are monitoring his laboratories daily and his medications daily,” the doctor said. “He is making a good recovery. I really expect that he will make a 100 percent recovery. He is one of those lucky people, the 20 percent who have a subarachnoid hemorrhage, who make a full and complete recovery.”
Let’s hope that Zabramski, part of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, is correct in his prognosis for the 47-year-old singer and reality TV star. The frontman for Poison most likely will be able to return to compete on “Celebrity Apprentice,” where he’s been considered a frontrunner.
Zabramski didn’t spare any of the medical details when he talked about Michaels, who was admitted to the hospital April 22 with a searing headache and neck pain. As it turned out, he had a dangerous brain hemorrhage.
An edited transcript of Zabramski’s remarks on Michaels’ condition is posted on the Barrow facility’s Web Site, and it offers a very explicit explanation of Michaels’ treatment. http://www.stjosephs-phx.org/Who_We_Are/Press_Center/206496
Barrow is part of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Zabramski, perhaps a bit biased, called Barrow “the best center in the United States if you have a problem with your blood vessels.”
After coming to the emergency room and being evaluated, Michaels was admitted to the hospital and doctors immediately started tests to find out the cause of the bleeding in his brain and whether he had a ruptured aneurysm, according to Zabramski.
He showed reporters a slide of a CAT scan that was performed on Michaels’ brain, pointing out a white spot that he said was a blood clot.
“That is the blood that escaped from the vessels and clotted around the brain stem and that is what caused the severe headache and pain,” Zabramski explained at the press conference in Phoenix. “The reason this is so important is that 15-20 percent of patients will die as a result of the initial hemorrhage. The other patients, the ones that survive, their prognosis depends on the amount of blood that is spilled and what the cause is.”
Michaels also was given a series of angiograms, and they didn’t detect any issues. “This is one of those rare instances in medicine where we are pleased not to be able to find out what caused a problem,” Zabramski said.
Michaels was lucky because “he survived the brain hemorrhage, got to the emergency room and then got here, to Barrow. And when I first saw him on the morning of his admission, he was still very lethargic, complaining of severe headache and pain and not fully aware of his surroundings. The great thing is that by the next morning he was fully aware of what was going on and his level of consciousness had returned to what we call normal,” according to Zabramski.
The neurosurgeon didn’t tie Michaels’ hemorrhage to his recent emergency appendectomy or his diabetes.
“At this point we were feeling pretty confident that Mr. Michaels does not have an aneurysm or any other problem with his blood vessels that could result in a recurrent hemorrhage,” Zabramski said.
“At this point he should be celebrating, but at this point the blood from that blood clot in his brain had begun to dissolve,” Zabramski went on. “He was about seven days after the hemorrhage and as these blood products from the clot break down they are very irritating to the coverings of the brain and the spinal cord. This causes what we call chemical meningitis. This chemical meningitis can be severely painful and causes back pain and increased spasms. We could not treat him as we would many of the patients we treat because of his diabetes. For instance for many patients, we would put them on steroids, but he is a diabetic.
So Michaels had to go on and suffer pain and discomfort.
“But he is improving and he will continue to gradually improve,” Zabramski said. “It takes about seven to 10 days more from now that this blood will resolve and he will really begin to feel like he is on the mend and he can resume all of his activities.”
Kudos to Michaels for his will to live, his luck and his spirit. Even if he wins “Celebrity Apprentice,” that victory will pale next to his survival in Phoenix.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.