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TBI Patients: Todd, Hate Crime Victim


Todd never made it out of Neuro ICU to Rehab, but I can never forget him and all of his friends. Todd was minding his own business on the streets of Philadelphia one night, when a gang of thugs beat him into a coma. Why? He was gay.

Todd never regained consciousness but his beautiful blue-grey eyes with long dark lashes were open and gentle. Fellow RN Joann and I got quite attached to him and his band of friends, especially his partner, Greg. Todd was a designer for a famous clothing design house in Philadelphia and his coworkers came in regularly and often to see him for the three weeks he was alive after the beating. I still have a gorgeous woodblock print that one of them gave me.


Our neurosurgeons at The Graduate were top flight. We measured Todd's intracranial pressure (ICP)via a bolt or screw placed (drilled) directly into the patient's skull. Normal ranges are 1-15 mm Hg. If the pressure goes up too high, the head of the bed is elevated, cerebrospinal fluid is drained, ventilator settings are adjused and medications are given to bring it down to safe levels. This is to prevent further damage to the delicate brain and vascular tissue.

In addition to the constant, careful monitoring - one or two nurses to every patient -Joann, Todd's friends and I did everything we could to try to stimulate any brain function - we talked to him, sang, played the radio, massaged him, gave him range of motion exercises. Despite our best efforts, the love, prayer and support of many people and the best care money could buy, Todd died. The police had no suspects, no leads on the perpetrators of this awful crime. A young artist, deprived of his life, for nothing - except hate.

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