Monthly Archives: October 2012


Hey guys! It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything, partly due to how busy I’ve been settling in and starting my course: I’m here now as I have something I’d like to share…


One of my best friends (Amy) has a younger brother (aged 16) called Sam Richards.  On Friday night, I got a text from my brother, Callum, who’s friends with Sam.  It said:

A bad accident has happened at Tesco Park with Sam Richards, an ambulance is here and he is out cold, inform Amy please

I forwarded the message to Amy before I got on the Tube, and when my signal returned, she had text to say her mum was on the way.  I went out clubbing, worried, but assuming it couldn’t be life threatening…


Saturday morning was when I realised how wrong I had been: Sam had to have a third of his skull removed to relieve the intercranial pressure, and had then been given a variety of drugs to impose an induced coma upon him. It also transpired that he has brain damage to the front of his brain (unsure exactly which part, but possibly the frontal lobe) and was non-responsive to many stimuli.

His condition yesterday had deteriorated to the point that they were considering taking the life-support machines away.  Yet today, something of a small miracle happened.  His right pupil has reacted, which it wasn’t doing before.  Yes, yes, this is only a tiny reaction, but it means he hasn’t given up yet! There is still hope: he’s a sixteen-year-old boy with his whole life ahead of him, and he doesn’t deserve this.  Let’s all hope and pray that he recovers!


As my degree is about the brain, I’m able to provide some basic facts on comas and brain injury, which I found have helped me to understand what’s going on.  The following is from Marieb and Hoehn’s ‘Human Anatomy and Physiology’.

  • The reticular activating system (RAS) maintains cerebral cortical alertness; it’s located in the hypothalamus and severe injury can result in an irreversible coma or unconsciousness.
  • Consciousness is determined by how behaviour is graded in response to stimul: alertness, drowsiness/lethargy, stupor, coma.
  • Oxygen use is always below normal resting levels in coma patients, and therefore is not deep sleep, although delta waves are what appears in EEGs of the brain.
  • If the pressure forces the brain stem inferiorly through the foramen magnum, control of blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration is lost.
  • Cerebral edema is the swelling of the brain.

If anyone has had experiences with brain injury, comas, or anything of the sort, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.  Any positive stories would definitely be welcome!