After a car crash on Sept. 25, 2011, Timothy Hughes (20) was found unresponsive outside his vehicle with a glasgow coma scale score of three and was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital by EMS. He was admitted to the trauma unit and diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury among other injuries. His stay at the hospital was complicated by changes in mental status and fever.
During the first two weeks in the trauma unit, Hughes functioned at a Rancho level 3. Due to this, arrangements were made for him to transfer to a nursing home as soon as possible. However, at the beginning of week three, Hughes began following simple commands and showed increased agitation. While initially he only moved his right side, he was finally beginning to emerge from his coma and his destination plan was changed to Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital.
On Oct. 12, Hughes was transferred to Stallworth to start intensive brain injury rehabilitation. At the time of his arrival, he functioned at a Rancho level 3 to emerging 4. He needed total assistance for all memory and problem solving skills, as well as for all activities of daily living (ADL). He required maximum assistance to go from sitting to standing, he had not attempted ambulation, and a tube was still his only means of nutrition. He progressed rapidly at Stallworth, working eagerly with all of the interdisciplinary brain injury treatment team members. By the time of discharge, Hughes functioned independently in all areas of ADLs and mobility. He joked around and carried on conversations appropriately. After three weeks at Stallworth, Hughes was discharged to his family at home on Nov. 2. His parents frequently expressed their gratitude for the care their son had received at Stallworth.
“We are so pleased and grateful for what you’ve done for him,” Hughes’ parents, Jim and Kim, said. “We have our son back!”
Today, Hughes continues to improve. His feeding tube has been discontinued, and he recently visited Vanderbilt’s trauma unit with his parents to show how much he has progressed. He laughed and joked with the staff, explaining how he did not remember anything about his hospitalization until he woke up at Stallworth. His parents state that the only difference they see in him from before the crash is that he has a better attitude and better outlook on life. They expressed thankfulness to the trauma staff for its excellent care.