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What are the chances of my step-daughter waking up after a drug-induced coma for trach removal surgery?

By Anonymous April 13, 2011 - 12:47pm
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Let me expound on the situation. My step-daughter was in a car wreck March 17th, 2010 and almost died. She had a grade 5 liver laceration, they removed her spleen, was gutted below her belly button to above her breast plate, had broken ribs, was in a coma for 3 weeks, received a trach and lived. For the past year she has lived with the trach. She didn't take care of it like she should but last Wednesday she went into the hospital to have the trach removed. The doctors said that the procedure was experimental meaning there was a 50/50 chance of her being able to breath on her own or having the trach put back in. They put her in a drug induced coma on Wednesday, removed the trach and she was supposed to wake up Monday morning. Monday morning was going to be the test to see if she could breath without it. The doctors decided to lighten up her drug dosage Saturday night so that bringing her out of the coma would be easier on Monday. She woke up early Sunday morning and pulled the tubes out going in her lungs and they got all twisted. She vomited and the bile and fluid from her stomach went into her lungs and she had a cardiac arrest and her heart stopped beating for 2 minutes. They had to resuscitate her and now she is in a coma and its not drug-induced. They did a CAT scan and found no brain damage. They do not know why she is not waking up. She is unresponsive and her eyes are rolled back into her head. They had to put the trach back in and now we are waiting to see if she will come out of it.

Where the doctors suppose to strap her arms down? How many minutes can your heart stop and there be brain damage? Can you still have brain and nerve damage and the CAT scan not show it? If she comes out of it, will she have to live with the trach the rest of her life? What is you assessment on this situation? Thank you very much.


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Hi Lori,
I can understand how horrible and frightening this experience must be for you and your family. As a former critical care nurse, I am reminded of the patients who would wiggle out of their restraints and extubate themselves. Though patients who are intubated and on repirators are kept in wrist restraints, the restraints cannot be too tight as to cut off circulation.
Cardiac arrest causes a cessation of blood flow to the brain.This produces a loss of consciousness within 6 seconds . If oxygen is restored immediately, consciousness can return in seconds to minutes. Two minutes of anoxia or the absence of oxygen can cause focal damage or damage in a specific part of the brain. If the anoxia lasts longer than 4 minutes, brain cells begin to be lost permanently . When lack of blood flow to the brain lasts longer than 10 minutes most patients do not regain consciousness.
I'm sure a neurological consultant will be obtained at the appropriate time to assess your step-daughter's status and prognosis. Keep us posted.

April 13, 2011 - 4:57pm
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