Posted on March 28, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 6 of 32 in the series Quinn

Severe Brain Injury Relapse: Quinn Part Six

Quinn’s wife talks about his severe brain injury relapse after his return home and the complications this caused.  The hospital released him too soon, while he was having a severe brain injury relapse.

Hospital Releases Quinn During a Severe Brain Injury Relapse

He comes home, after a week, and there’s a crisis a severe brain injury relapse.  Tell me what happened.

I did not even want him to come home, at that point.  I could tell he was getting worse, the last few days in the hospital, but I didn’t know why.  I didn’t know what.  I had significant disagreements with the staff, medical staff taking care of him; and despite all of my efforts, they still insisted that he come home.

Is money the reason they released him during a severe brain injury relapse?

I have no idea.  His insurance apparently was paying.  I know they paid a very large portion of the claim.  They didn’t seem to be having trouble collecting.  They just kept saying, there’ s no need for him to be in the hospital.  He’s medically stable.

Is this the neurosurgeon talking?

This is the nurse practitioner from the trauma team.  I kept insisting on trying to speak to her boss, whoever the trauma doctor was.  I didn’t get to speak to them.  I don’t, to this day, still know who that was.  I kept trying to speak to the neurologist and the neurosurgeons, and I kept being told that I missed them.  I was there for almost 24 hours.  I would leave at 2:00 in the morning and come back before 7:00; and somehow, I still missed when they were rounding.  What I later found out was, apparently, they weren’t always coming in to see him. And that’s probably why no one really did the right tests and recognized what I had been saying; that he was declining.

So he had declining neurological function and, and they discharged him while this he was having a severe brain injury relapse?


Were they doing the routine Glasgow Coma type evaluations?

They were doing very quick mental status exams, and when they asked him over and over again, where is he, what day is it and he would eventually get it right, they thought he was fine.

The problem with amnesia tests is they typically don’t ask you questions about anything that you have to remember, or you would have remembered since you got hurt.  For example, you’re in the hospital for six days. Did they ever ask him any questions what happened an hour before, five hours before the day before?

Not to my recollection.

Was he ever in a coma?

I don’t know what they considered him, when he was in the ICU for the first couple of days.  I know he was breathing on his own.  He did not have any kind of assistance with breathing, but there were times that he was not able to be woken up; despite our best efforts; and they would try again, a while later, and then they would get him to just barely open his eyes.

So he was in some level of coma, if not a deep coma?

Likely.  Likely nothing deep.  I mean, for the most part, when we tried, he was able to be awakened.   But, just for a few seconds.  Then he’d go back to sleep.

Have you looked at his records, from, from that period of time?

I don’t think I have the complete records.  I had asked for them and reviewed them, from just shortly after his discharge.

Did they do a GCS analysis on him, on a regular basis, during that first few days?

Only in the emergency room.  Not once he was in the ICU, or on the floor.

It should not have to be said that such neglect is unconscionable. Sorting out the effects of the initial trauma from the complications that occurred because no one was paying attention, even though he was in an ICU, is difficult. Yet there can be no doubt that his secondary problems, his severe brain injury relapse, not only risked his life, but likely did additional damage to his brain and certainly lengthened and complicated his recovery.

We began this story with a discussion about the preventable nature of Quinn’s injury.  Quinn has learned his lesson about how to wear his helmet. Sadly, it is likely that the hospital that kept his physician assistant wife in the dark about his injuries, has not learned that neurosurgeons, not nurse practitioners, should be making diagnostic decisions about treatment and discharge after a skull fracture and discharged him while he was having a severe brain injury relapse.

Next in Part in Seven –   Deterioration Requires TBI Readmission

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

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