‘He’s going to be better than he was before’

Photo credit:CNN

On his CNN show, Sanjay Gupta, MD, Dr. Gupta presented the story of 16-year-old Grant Virgin and his remarkable recovery after a hit-and-run accident. Grant was left with life-threatening damage, including a traumatic brain injury and bleeding, a torn aorta, and fractures in his spine. The doctors grimly told his parents that he had little chance of survival, but the parents refused to give up on their child.

They pushed for any treatments that could help Grant, including a few unconventional ones. Grant underwent numerous surgeries and was even put on a ventilator, but the doctors told his parents that only time would tell if Grant would heal.

Grant’s mother, JJ, asked friends for advice and found that progesterone had been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation in the brain after a traumatic injury. Shortly after, Grant awoke from his coma and was able to speak some words and phrases, but the doctors were still unsure about a full recovery. JJ explains, “You’re holding onto anything that you can see and monitoring everything, every single day. And so it was very clear when the acceleration happened. Really clear.” JJ continued to seek advice and learned that high doses of fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, had been beneficial for some with traumatic brain injuries, so she consulted experts and decided that it might be helpful for Grant, too.

While fish oil doesn’t help everyone in this situation, it apparently worked wonders for Grant. Just two days after starting an aggressive dosage of fish oil, Grant called his mother from the hospital and was able to carry on a conversation. Grant’s father, John, recalls, “We had been told he’d never be able to recognize anybody, he will never be able to focus his eyes, all that grim stuff. (They said) the diffuse damage to his brain is so much that he’s never going to be Grant again.” But, 16 months later, Grant is on the road to recovery and his parents expect him to be even better than he was before the accident. More research is now being done on omega-3’s impact on traumatic brain injuries, but Grant’s parents are certain that it will help others like Grant in the future. As John says, “OK, what if it didn’t do anything? It certainly couldn’t hurt, but what if you have this kind of result?”

CNN, 1/18/14

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