A 21-year-old student from Ariz., who was in a coma since a car crash over two months ago, woke up hours before doctors were to take him off life support and recovered enough to spend Christmas day with his family, including his mother who prayed.
Two days before he celebrated Christmas with his family at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, University of Arizona student Sam Schmid was the subject of a news conference at the hospital. He was able to walk with support and talk in brief sentences.
“Right now, I’m feeling all right ... except for the rehabilitation, I’m feeling pretty good,” The Associated Press quoted Schmid as saying.
An Oct. 19 car crash in Tucson had left Schmid, a business major and basketball coach at a school’s recreation center, with life-threatening injuries, including a brain aneurysm. He showed no responsive signs after Dr. Robert Spetzler performed surgery. Doctors planned to switch off the life-support machine, believing Schmid was brain dead. He was even being considered, unofficially, for organ donation.
Hospital staff began to prepare Schmid’s mother Susan Regan. But Spetzler decided to wait. At the 11th hour, the patient lifted up two fingers.
“It may not seem like a lot to you,” Spetzler said. “It’s an incredible loop to show brain ability. That was like fireworks going off.” After the sign of recovery, Dr. Christina Kwasnica began to administer his rehabilitation, beginning with making him practice sitting in a chair and gradually moving on to doing rehab three hours a day.
Regan said she knew she had to make some sort of decision regarding life support at some point, but she “kept praying.”
Doctors are hoping they will release Schmid from the hospital this week. His Tucson-based brother John plans to relocate to Phoenix to help him carry on with rehabilitation on an out-patient basis.
But the doctors are cautiously hopeful. “It’s so early in Sam’s injury. We have no idea where the ceiling is,” Kwasnica was quoted as saying. Schmid is determined. “I see myself leaving the house, going to school, work, basic things like that,” he said. “I just want my life to be what it used to be.”