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life support following overdose

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flump1 | 11:54 Tue 03rd Jan 2012 | Body & Soul
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My friends boy has ended up in intensive care on a life support machine in an induced coma as a result of an overdose. The lad is seventeen years old and has smoked weed for a couple of years. The medical staff could not identify what else was in his system, possibly ecstasy, diazapan (sp) and they questioned whether he may have drank antifreeze . While the medics have put him in a coma his vital signs have dipped very low just once, and today they are going to bring him round. If he does not respond and come round.....roughly how long do you reckon he would be kept on life support ? At what point can they say he is " brain dead " ?


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two separate things.... there are signs that a serious brain injury occurs which they will look out for

but they can keep someone in an induced coma for quite a while supporting all the systems til they can wake up safely.. sometimes it takes a few attempts over a number of days.

Usually the first sign a patient on life support has suffered a big brain injury is the pupils stop reacting evenly to light and eventually if they become fixed and dilated they might consider doing tests to see if the patient is 'brain stem dead' this means they would be unable to survive without support and the brain's systems can no longer function. I.e they are 'brain dead At this point the family may be approached with a view to donating organs... assuming they would be viable
thats so sad. Hope everything works out ok and they manage to bring him round. Why do kids do it ???
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Thanks for that Rowan, they think he may have suffered some brain damage , possible kidney damage and he has had a collapsed lung. All of that happened as his girl friend thought he was asleep when she went to work in the morning ....he was in the same position when she finished her 12 hour shift . I guess I am trying to pre-empt his chances. Right now they don't look too good :(
The Other Half, it is a sorry state of affairs when kids end up like this lad, and he is a good kid, got a good family and friends. I think they adopt the "it won't happen to me " attitude when dugs are used.
kidney damage....dialysis or something called haemofiltration which is similar
Collapsed lungs are usually pretty easy to reinflate

They will want to try to waking him as soon as it appears he is stable but if it fails they will try again usually once a day... unless his condition deteriorates further..

If he is on drugs to support his blood pressure and heart function that would be a but more serious
It is difficult to put a time on this situation as it can change so rapidly. But rowanwitch has explained it very well. My heart really goes out to the parents of this young lad. I held my son as he died of brain cancer just three days before his 21st birthday. It is a devastating time they are going through and one that they may never really come to terms with. They will need a lot of support from friends and family, whether he pulls through or not. Sadly, too often friends stay away, sometimes because they think they will not be able to find the right words to say. But it is the company, the not being alone, the fact that someone wants to share in the worry, the sadness and wants to try to ease the "lost" feeling, that makes a difference. I really hope all turns to the better for this young lad and his family. Good to know they have a friend in you who cares.
"At what point can they say he is " brain dead " ? "

Im fairly sure they will be monitoring brain activity, when there is no brain activity he will be declared brain stem dead.

Im no expert on this I hasten to add.
there is reallyno way of knowing, especially if brain damage is involved.
He may recover normally, he may become brain dead, he may have significant brain damage and have PVS
A cousin was ventilated in ITu for 10 months expected to have severe brain damage but still recovered to an almost normal state (memory problems and some personality changes) so its a bit soon to tell they will probably still be doing neuro observations hourly for a long while yet so they can react to any changes.
What a sad sad start start to the New Year - our hearts and prayers go out especially to your friend and their family and friends too .....we hope it has a positive outcome.
How awful and so young too. Hope things do improve for the better for your friend's son. Can't imagine what the family must be going through whilst he is like this poor lad.
Can't be of any help answering your question I'm afraid, but just wanted to send my best wishes.
A friend of mine was in a coma for over a year. They wanted to turn the machines off but his Mother refused. He came round on his own and the only noticeable effects was his sort term memory.

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