Tuesday, 22 January 2013

An update on Molly Meldrum

Molly's recovery

Readers may recall that in December 2011 Molly Meldrum was admitted to hospital after a fall at his home in Melbourne. He was in an induced come for approximately 10 days and in Post Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) for almost one month. From the limited details released by the media, Molly appeared to have sustained at least a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

It has emerged that on February 27, 2012, less than 10 days after coming out of PTA, Molly checked himself out of hospital. At that point he could walk and talk, was physically much better, had likely had enough of being in hospital and (incorrectly) assumed that he was well enough to go home.

TBI's can often be more misleading than other types of injuries, because once the scars heal and the bandages are removed, most of the ongoing issues are not likely to be visible. The person may appear well and may be able to communicate and perform basic tasks. However, particularly if it is a severe TBI, there are likely to be significant ongoing cognitive weaknesses which will reduce their ability to perform a wide range of important tasks, at least in the short-term.

Recovery from TBI is a slow process, spanning 18-24 months, with some skills and abilities returning to the same level as prior to the accident, some improving markedly, some only improving slightly and some skills being lost entirely. This is highly dependent on the individual, the injury site, the severity of the TBI and other factors such as the care that the individual receives after the accident.

For Molly, one effect of his TBI was a reduced sense of direction. Despite living less than 1km from the hospital, an area he had lived in for approximately 30 years, when he left the hospital he took a wrong turn and had difficulty finding his house. He also adamantly refused to return to the hospital, despite being encouraged by family and hospital staff. This indicates that Molly may have also had reduced insight into the severity of his condition, and/or a weaker ability to make important decisions. These are common outcomes of severe TBI.

Molly does appear to have made an excellent recovery, especially given that the severity of his injury and his age were factors working against him. An article in the Herald Sun in September 2012 revealed that he is back travelling, doing interviews, socialising, attending events (such as the London Olympics), and meeting with a writer who is compiling his biography.

No doubt his recovery is a testament to the hard work of doctors, nurses and allied health specialisits at The Alfred and Epworth Hospitals. Professionals involved in his care included neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, nurses, and while it hasn't been specifically reported, it is likely that he may have had a visit from a neuropsychologist!

Molly Meldrum recovering in hospital after sustaining a traumatic brain injury; accompanied by neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, nurses and specialisits of The Alfred and Epworth Hospitals

After self-discharging from hospital, Molly reportedly made a deal with the medical staff to continue his rehabiliation as an outpatient. It would be in his best interests to continue that rehabilitation for at least 24 months, and to take things as easily as possible, giving himself more time to perform tasks and plenty of rest.

If you'd like to learn more about TBIs, how they may affect your cognition and what rehabilitation programs are available, please contact us.

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