Here’s a cheerful Christmas time story about an Arizona youth, in a coma and thought to be brain dead, who woke up shortly before his organs were going to be harvested for donors.
The wonderful story of Sam Schmid, a student at the University of Arizona, to us illustrates the importance of not simply writing off patients in comas, the way some doctors do. And it is an example of how frequent visits from family and friends seemingly stimulate a person in a coma, and help him or her come out of it.
According to the Associated Press, 21-year-old Schmid sustained such severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an Oct. 19 multi-car accident that he had to be transported to the Barrow Neurological Institute at st. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix. He underwent surgery on an aneurysm.
But Schmid’s prognosis wasn’t considered very good, according to AP. Things were so bad that officials at the hospital hinted to his family about his organs being donated. Maybe it was hearing about the possibility of his lifeline pulled and his organs removed, but the youth began responding.
Schmid is now walking, using a walker, and doctors are expecting him to recover from his TBI. His mother, Susan Regan, thinks it’s a miracle, according to AP. And so does his neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert Spetzler, who just happened to train the doctor who performed surgery on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot through the head in Tucson, AP reported.
Spetzler held off on pulling life support on Schmid because MRIs didn’t show any that any parts of his brain had any blood clots or if any part of his brain had become dark, a sign that brain tissue had died. Then suddenly, Schmid began to become responsive, AP reported.
Schmid may have been in a medically induced coma, but he wasn’t alone when he was comatose. He was always surrounded by family and friends, who offered him support. And we’d guess that even though he was out of it, he could still “hear” those who wanted him to recover.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
email@example.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.