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Hans Christian Eidenert hce at bahnhof.se
Tue Jun 20 05:39:12 EST 1995

Anoxia with posttraumatic amnesia 

Hello there,

This is a serious attempt to find more information and consultation from
various experts around the world within the field of neuropsychology. 

Two months ago my wife took an overdose of a painkiller (around onehundred
tablets) by the name Distalgesic. Due to a delay in the emergency medical
services system here in Sweden my wife did not get to the hospital until
45 minutes later and in the meantime in the ambulance she suffered from a
heart failure and a subsequent breathing failure. After a few minutes of
emergency treatment she regained her heartbeat and her breathing
functions. Her stomach was emptied only later and there were no sign of
the pills she had taken meaning that they had been absorbed by her body
system. She was however unconscious and she was also having cramps. She
fell into a coma and the doctors expressed their opinion that she would
probably never wake up again since the clinical analysis showed no
reactions or reflexes when the neurologists did their examination of my
wife. This was indicative of a complete loss of her brain stem function
according to the doctors. Furthermore, the EEG showed signs of epileptic
brain activity. I asked them if they had had any previous experience with
this type of case and they mentioned that they had seen twenty more or
less identical cases. When I asked them how they had fared they said that
none of them had managed to survive. 

My wife was transferred to another ward for medical treatment and she was
pronounced as having finished her treatment four to five days later
meaning that there was nothing more that could be done for her medically
and she was therefore ready to be transferred to an appropriate location
where the life functions can be upheld as long as we, the relatives,
deemed appropriate. 

The shock that we had from this experience and ordeal made the whole
situation so unreal that I refused to believe that my wife was not going
to wake up from her coma. The doctors and the staff thought that I was
nuts keeping my wife company 24 hours a day, playing music for her,
talking to her,etc. Due to the bureaucratic delay in finding a place for
my wife to be transferred to she had to stay in the original ward pending
a decision where she should be going. 

Before one week had passed I sat my wife up in her hospital bed and I put
on her glasses. Slowly she began to move her hed from one side to the
other. During the course of the next month she slowly started to see,
hear, react to sounds, smile, etc. There was a jubilant atmosphere in the
hospital room when I asked my wife to blink her eyes if she understood
what I was saying and she did. Eventually, when her tracheostomy was
removed and she could breathe by herself, she started making singing
sounds. One night, she pulled out her sond feed and the doctors
immediately wanted to put it back. I managed to convince them that if I
was successful in giving her proper food there was a chance that she would
recover more quickly and therefore it would be a good idea to give her
normal food. She immediately ate a banana and I was so happy. After a
while the singing sounds she made started to sound more and more like
words and the first sentence that I could understand was: ³I want to go
home².  The hospital performed a CT Scan of her brain and it showed no
signs of a damage to her brain.

The last neurologist consultation that was made stated that there was no
reason to be optimistic about my wife¹s case as she was now entering a
vegetative state. So when the experts from the neurorehabilitation ward
came to analyze whether my wife should be given rehabilitation treatment
they were truly surprised at the patient in front of their eyes since
there was an obvious discrepancy between the facts according to the
patient¹s  medical history and what they could see with their own eyes. 

My wife has now been at the rehabilitation ward for about three weeks and
this is the main reason for this inquiry. 

She is given a drug by the name of Iktoviril (2.5 mg per day) which is an
antiepileptic drug. If her dose is reduced her eyes will begin to flicker
and she will experience ticks in her body (similar to hickups) which are
called myoclonic something. She does have some motoric problems as she has
some difficulty moving her arms properly and grasping things. She cannot
use her fingers normally. Also her legs are too weak for her to walk
unassisted so she needs a wheelchair at the moment. 

Mentally she has the following problem. She cannot remember things that
took place more than five minutes ago. Her speech is a little slow but her
vocabulary is perhaps even better now than before. Also, she does not seem
to understand what year it is even if I tell her again and again. On the
other hand she recognizes people and remembers their names immediately.
She remembers her past. Sometimes she will talk complete rubbish such as
changing nappies on the dogs, flying dolphins etc. She came home for one
hour earlier this week together with a psychologist and she was able to
notice that there were things missing from the house. Also she noticed
that I had removed the computer from the desk in her hospital room.
Sometimes she does not seem to be sure whether we are married yet. She
also says that she wants to have a baby. She can tell me what time it is
and she can read properly. She really wants to go home because the
hospital is so boring. 

The Professor who supposedly is the leading neurorehabilitation doctor in
Sweden is trying to convince me that she needs to rest and that she should
have a limited amount of stimuli. Therefore, I am only allowed to visit my
wife one hour per day at the hospital where she is locked up and in fact
imprisoned. He also claims that her rehabilitation is going to take a long
time months or even years. So far I have not been able to get any
information as to when she can come home.

My view is that she should be  able to come home and that she could go for
her physiotherapy training in the daytime. She should be able to spend
time with her family and this should do her good and when she gets tired
she should go and rest. How could this harm her? 

Please give me some advice what I should do. I am so scared that we could
be doing the wrong thing for her. The neuropsychologist that I spoke to
today told me that in his experience patients with anoxia either regain
their motoric functions or their mental functions, not both. Is this true?
Is there anything that could be done for my wife to enhance her chances of
full and complete recovery?

The whole country of Sweden closes down in the summertime as everyone is
going on vacation which means that the ward will be staffed to a minimum
and there is a great risk that no one will be around to give my wife the
best possible treatment. 

Then there is the philosophical and moral problem involved in satisfying
the wants of my wife as expressed by her. I asked the Professor what am I
supposed to do when my wife says that she wants to go home or when she
wants me to lie down in bed with her. I did not get a satisfactory reply. 

Which newsgroups should I post this to? Please reply by E-mail. Do you
know of any special treatment that can be given to her to make her recover
such as e.g. hypnosis? Where can I find the best treatment for her? 

Who is the leading medical expert in this field in the U.S.?   

Please help me!

Please reply by E-mail.

Yours respectfully,
Christian Eidenert

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