Posted on March 12, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Doug

Severe Brain Injury Coma: Doug Part One

Sometimes, you get a warning that disaster looms. Doug did, his brakes were trying to tell him not to drive. His friend told him not to drive with those brakes. He did it anyway. The result, a severe brain injury coma that has left Doug with very serious physical limitations, yet far less cognitive problems from the severe brain injury coma that might have been expected.

It happened January 23, eight years ago, my brakes when out, I went down the hill and hit the retaining wall at the bottom of the hill. And basically, the brakes went out. What they told me, is that they couldn’t tell if I had my seatbelt on or not, but I must have crawled underneath the seat so I wouldn’t take the blunt of the, the whole impact of the car, because the engine went above me. I broke both my legs and I suffered a brain injury because of it. I broke both my legs, had one of my bones come out of my leg and I suffered a coma  – I was in a coma (severe brain injury coma) .

The good news?

And then the good thing about it was the fact that it happened (right in front of the hospital) and in 15 minutes they had me out of the car and then the emergency room.

He doesn’t remember any of the details about his severe brain injury coma himself. He has complete amnesia for almost a month. “I kind of remember bits and pieces about Christmas, but after that nothing much.” He remembers very little of anything else in December. His accident – January 23rd, 2003. He was 27 then, is 35 now. He was working at the hospital in Duluth at the time.

It was actually my day off. I was at a friend’s house and I guess what they had told me in the past is that my car was making – the brakes were making a squeaky noise in my car and she tried to convince me to stay at her, at her house and have it looked, looked at my brakes. But I told her I could make it back to Superior and have –them looked at it, look at my brakes when I get back to Superior. Well, I guess I never made it back.

Doug isn’t exactly sure how long his severe brain injury coma lasted.

I was in a coma probably – let’s see – I think they said I was probably in a coma until, because I remember –once I came out of the coma, they shipped me to Milwaukee – so that must have been probably sometime in February or March, March. So I must have been in a coma until March.
In Milwaukee, he was treated at Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Hospital, where he stayed until the week after Memorial Day.

How much does he remember of his first two hospitalizations?

Actually – well, at first I didn’t remember that much, but towards the end I got a lot better and then, so I remembered a lot, I started to know a lot more of the therapists, a lot more of the people and then, then when I – they shipped me off, when they shipped me off to Clearview, so I know a lot more of the people at (Clearview.)

Next – Part Two – Doug’s Injuries Included Profound Physical Limitations

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447