16 year old brother bad hypoxic brain injury! - Headway


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16 year old brother bad hypoxic brain injury!

Mvessicchio profile image

It's been two months since his freak accident where a tree fell on him while he was mowing the lawn! It was said that he suffered hypoxia for 10-12 minutes. The first few weeks were spent treating his numerous fractures and organs that were damaged and now he is luckily fully stable and breathing on his own with no traech! Unfortunately it's been 8 weeks and he really hasn't become more responsive to commands because he is always tired! He finally just started sleeping the past couple days and he looks more alert to me but I'm not sure. The neurologists are basically saying he'd be lucky to even wake up! But from what I've read 8 weeks is early even in terms of a hypoxic brain injury! The doctors basically shattered the hopes of my parents and my other brother for our younger brothers recovery but I feel like there still is so much left to be said and done! Anybody ever have a similar scenario? Am I crazy for still staying positive? I've broken down emotionally a few times but when I look at him I feel like he's gonna be okay! Any responses would be great! God bless

9 Replies

Dear Mvessicchio,

I'm so so sorry to hear about your brother - what a terrible thing to happen. I definitely think 8 weeks is very early days for a hypoxic brain injury - there are many posts on here of family being told there is no hope and there certainly was. I think Drs will always give worse case scenario. I guess preparing people is necessary and as every brain injury is different they aren't able to know which patients will prove them wrong. I would suggest that you get in touch with Headway who will be great and offering advice, support, insight and definitely understanding to your whole family. Its such a tough situation to be in but anything that can make it that little bit easier has got to be good.

Just to fill you in on my reason for replying - I was told there was no hope for my husband after a hypoxic brain injury caused by a cardiac arrest - he is definitely a changed man - but he holds down a job, drives and does sport - so definitely don't give up hope.

Wishing your brother a continued recovery.

Take care xxx

Mvessicchio profile image
Mvessicchio in reply to CJDA94

Thank you for your response CJDA! I'm sure you know how hard it is the day the doctors basically say you need a miracle for them to even wake up let alone get back to doing anything he used to love! If you don't mind me asking how long was your husband in a coma or vegetative state? I just don't understand how this doctor could be so quick to give up on him after two months! I will also be sure to get in touch with headway because I know the rest of my family could use anything right now to make this time a little easier.

God bless,


CJDA94 profile image
CJDA94 in reply to Mvessicchio

Hello again, so my husband was without oxygen for 18 mins and then was in itu for 2 weeks and then 6 weeks on a cardiac ward before going to the neuro rehab unit. My husband definitely had a 'waking up moment' that he specifically recalls. This was when he was on the cardiac ward so about 4 weeks since the cardiac arrest. Although he was clinically 'awake' for a few weeks prior to this - he has no memory of that and it was when he was in the bathroom on the ward (under supervision) that he just said - "what am I doing here" and then his recovery just was positive from there. He always talks about his "waking up" moment. My husband had no other injuries to deal with and so it sounds like your brothers body has a lot to deal with and mend. I've read similar stories on here of people being told there is no hope and then they have been proven wrong. Stay strong xxx

Mvessicchio profile image
Mvessicchio in reply to CJDA94

Thank you again for responding! Yeah he had so many other injuries that's why I think its taking him a little longer! Did your husband show any other signs before waking up or was it just sudden?

CJDA94 profile image
CJDA94 in reply to Mvessicchio

Hi again, its really difficult to explain as he was extubated (after previous failed extubations) and managed to be breathing and even eating for a few days before and even held conversations (although without really making any sense) so its a bit weird to call it a 'waking up moment' when he had already been physically awake but this is exactly how he describes it.

How is your brother at the moment?


Mvessicchio profile image
Mvessicchio in reply to CJDA94

He's moving a little more and seems to be responding more frequently to our commands but only basic ones like to stick his tongue out if we ask him! He's moving his head a lot more and he's finally getting his neck brace off from the damage that was done there so at least he will be a little more comfortable. My family and I have a good rotation going to make sure we are stimulating him as much as possible throughout the day while the others are gaining their energy back. we are just hoping he starts becoming more responsive with commands in the coming weeks. I will keep you posted! God bless!

Please any inspirational stories to give us hope in the coming weeks would be greatly appreciated!

Hi, my dad had cardiac arrest and suffered brain injury and can't remember exact details now as so many things have happened since then, but he was unresponsive for about 2-3 weeks I think, then started sticking his tongue out, then sitting, and after few weeks was transferred to nearer hospital where he eventually managed to start walking which was probably about another 3 weeks later he started managing eating after having feeding tubes removed. He had breathing tubes removed twice as first time the muscles in his neck were not quite strong enough the first time and he was choking.

We managed to take him home couple weeks later and think the whole time from cardiac arrest to getting him home was about 2 months but still needed further few weeks until he was no longer incontinent.

My dad is the doctors words , does not have the capacity all of the time of his surroundings, or danger but he has definitely improved so much this past year. We were told by doctors that he would never probably wake up, and if he did he would not have good quality of life but he definitely has.

My dad could now run quite fast, have very good conversation, is still nobody's fool but sometimes throughout the day he forgets where he is, and needs reminding and reassuring.

One hard thing has been we used to go the Lake District as a whole family as many weekends as we could throughout the year which we can no longer do as we have realised he is so much more comfortable staying in his own home as his memory is bad and he is much better when he recognises his surroundings.

My dad is also not the same person he was exactly, but we still get snippets of the old person every day and he can still be as funny as quick witted as he ever was so that keeps us going, but some days is hard as he now no longer realises when he is being nasty and says some horrible things to us all but we all shrug it off as we know that he was such a great dad before and he deserved our patience.

Every single month we have noticed that he starts to remember more, his maths is getting better, and we always get him to write lists for us just for practice for him and he does it to help and you can definitely notice his writing and spelling is so much better.

I know that he is definitely improving, at a very very slow pace, and even if he never ends up with full capacity again, we don't care anymore because the most important thing for me is I can still pick up the phone and hear is voice and tell him I love him, and he can still be there in the moment and give me great advice so at the end if the day, I still have my dad.

Things will never be the same, and we all accept that now, but on my dads good days, it's still great. As his daughter, I can live with that, but I know it's a lot harder for my mum as she has lost her husband who used to look after her, and was a big alpha male whom was very independent and she had lost that, but at least we still have our loved one with us, and that means the world.

Hope just telling roughly what we have been through the last year dealing with our loved one having hypoxic brain injury, it has helped to realise that it is tough, and time is a healer, a slow healer in our particular experience, but it's still a healer, and there is definitely hope yet, so hopefully with lots of stimulus ( and playing my dads favourite music helped him at first we believe ) and foot massages to stimulate I believe helped at first to wake the senses. Maybe it did help, maybe it did not but it is worth a try and I wish you all the look in the world at this tough time xx

Thank you for your response! He's been becoming more active since I started rubbing his feet still need him to start getting more active but he's picking his up up a lot and just got his neck brace off! He looks a lot more comfortable! Thank you for all the prayers we just need him to get up soon! Hope your father keeps improving!

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