Hello. My friend was diagnosed with pneumonia, when we came into the hospital he could walk and talk and his nails and lips were blue but still had the energy to talk and spoke with doctors. During treatment his heart rate began getting really high so doctors decided to give him a medication called, Ativan, to drop his heart rate and also to put him into sedation. This is a medication that is supposed to be given slowly but the nurse seemed to give it to him in one full, fast shot, and on the screen we saw his heart rate numbers drop instantly from about 120 bpm to 4 bpm, a few minutes later, he died. The doctors did CPR for about 21 minutes and brought him back to life. Please keep in mind that this medication also causes low brain activity and puts the patient into coma. The pneumonia caused lung and kidney failure, but a week later we started to see improvement in his lungs and kidneys, and he is now peeing about 3 cm a day. Since they saw improvement, the doctors decided to take him off the sedation medication, and about an hour later give him an eeg scan, after the results, they said he is brain dead, and there is nothing they can do. But if he is brain dead, how is possible that his lungs and kidneys are slowly beginning to work, everytime we speak with him, tears start falling from his eyes, and his blood pressure starts getting high, and how could they expect to see brain activity if they just took him off a medication which causes low or no brain activity. They say his brain damage was caused by the 21 minutes of no oxygen going through the brain while they did CPR and caused brain cell damage. 3 days later they did a CAT scan and said that there is no blood flow in the brain, and again that he is brain dead.
We are currently trying to get him transferred to a hospital that specializes in brain function. To get a second opinion because the neurologist in my friends case never even looked at his files, just saw the eeg and CAT scan and said sorry he is brain dead. But what bothers us the most, is that there is people who last months, and days in comas before they start waking up and before the brain starts to work. The body needs time to heal. But these doctors are just giving us no hope. And they know they made a mistake when they gave him the medication. Now they are telling us to get a lawyer and call the police to do an investigation, and we are confused because that comment has nothing to do with my friends improvement. They also threatened that they do not need our consent to pull him off the plugs. Just three doctors and the hospital commisionary to sign a form.
I watched a TV show where they pronounced a man brain dead. His cousin didn't feel this was right, despite all the scans and brain specialists confirming this, and used a sharp object to scrap the bottom of the foot. There was a reflex reaction. He then jammed the sharp object under his finger nails to get a reaction and the hand moved. Because of this, the family postponed the autopsy. After 21 days, the man who was pronounced brain dead, and had been minutes from having organs removed for donation, walked out of hospital alive and with normal brain function. He said he was trying to tell them he wasn't dead (he could hear them discuss which organs they wanted removed) but of course he couldn't communicate. This may not be common scenario but it shows that it is possible to be misdiagnosed as brain dead.
Some of the signs of brain death include:
The pupils don’t respond to light.
The person shows no reaction to pain.
The eyes don’t blink when the eye surface is touched (corneal reflex).
The eyes don’t move when the head is moved (oculocephalic reflex).
The eyes don’t move when ice water is poured into the ear (oculo-vestibular reflex).
There is no gagging reflex when the back of the throat is touched.
The person doesn’t breathe when the ventilator is switched off.
An electroencephalogram test shows no brain activity at all.
Thought i would look online and actually found the story about Zack Dunlap. I had a few things wrong (well i watched the episode a few years back lol) but to answer your question, he was in in a coma. This is an article about it...
"Oklahoma City, Okla., Mar 27, 2008 / 05:58 am (CNA).- A young man who was injured in an all-terrain-vehicle accident woke from his coma and showed signs of life just minutes before he was to be disconnected from life support, Dateline NBC reports.
Zack Dunlap suffered a broken collarbone, multiple skull fractures, and “absolutely catastrophic” brain injuries when his four-wheeled off-road vehicle flipped over.
After tests revealed no blood flow to Dunlap’s brain, doctors determined he met the legal and medical requirements for declaring someone brain-dead.
Dunlap’s family decided to remove him from life support, and a medical team prepared to harvest Dunlap’s organs for donation. Oklahoma authorities were informed of his death, while friends and family were told to gather at the hospital to say their goodbyes.
Dunlap’s grandmother, Naomi Blackford, went in and prayed for him. She said to Dateline NBC that she was asking for “Just a miracle. That he was too young for God to take him. It wasn't time.”
Dunlap’s cousin Christie Coffin, a nurse, said, “I sat there and I just said to him, ‘Zack, if you're in there, if you can hear me, ask God to help you.’ And I mean it probably wasn't 10 minutes later, I started getting this different feeling in my gut. And I thought, ‘he's not ready.’”
Another cousin who is also a nurse, Dan Coffin, thought the monitor recording Dunlap’s vital signs showed signs of improvement. On a hunch he pulled out his pocketknife and scraped Dunlap’s foot from his heel to his toes.
Dunlap jerked his foot, but the attending hospital nurse believed it was only a reflex. Dan Coffin then stuck his fingernail beneath Dunlap’s fingernail, which provoked a purposeful movement, a sign of brain activity.
Doctors immediately resumed medical treatment. Dunlap opened his eyes after five days, and was taken off a ventilator two days later.
The following week Dunlap began responding to his neurosurgeon and spoke his first words to his parents. Dunlap’s mother, Pam, said, “He looked around, and he said, ‘I love you’.”
He began taking steps later that day.
Dunlap’s trauma surgeon said he had no medical explanation for his recovery, and said all procedures were followed.
Doctors insisted the tests administered to Dunlap were accurate, and said the hospital would have detected his renewed vital signs before any organs were harvested.
Forty-eight days after being declared dead, Dunlap returned home, where Dan Coffin presented him with the pocketknife that proved he was still alive.
“I had heard of miracles all my life. But I had never seen a miracle. But I have seen a miracle. I've got proof of it,” said Dunlap’s grandmother.
“We both feel that God has some big plan for Zack. We'll do everything in our power to help him pursue it -- whatever it is,” said Dunlap’s mother, Pam.
Dunlap said he did not remember the accident, but he does remember the doctor declaring him dead. “I heard it and it just made me mad inside,” he said.
Amal Moorad, medical director of the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital in Oklahoma City where Dunlap recuperated, explained the patient’s prognosis. “Anytime you have severe brain injury, you'll never be the same again from a mental, emotional standpoint,” he said.
“Zack will be very close to normal, but not 100 percent, and only time will tell us.”
Dunlap has resolved to pursue fishing. “No more 4-wheeling,” he told Dateline NBC."
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