What happens when a patient like Bobbi Kristina Brown enters a longterm rehab facility following a brain injury? ExtraTV.com spoke with an expert in neurology to find out.
Dr. Mark Liker, Medical Director and Neurosurgeon with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital, has never treated Bobbi Kristina, but was able to explain how these patients are cared for on a day-to-day basis, and how long she might remain in a rehab facility.
When it comes to eating and breathing, he said, “I’m sure there is a feeding tube that provides her with adequate nutrition, and a nutritionist that’s ensuring that she is getting the right calories and nutrients,” adding that because she is breathing via a tracheotomy, staff will “care for the breathing tube and her lungs,” always following proper protocol.
Physical therapy “depends on her level of consciousness,” he said. “I don’t know where she stands right now. If she is not able to respond, then the physical therapy is usually performed on a regular basis and it is limited to range of motion exercises, so they will move her arms and legs just so her legs and arms don’t go into a permanent contraction. Also, I think it is good to continually or frequently send impulses from the legs to the brain just to keep the brain as responsive as possible, and that could potentially give her better function over time, better recovery.”
Dr. Liker added that, barring any infections or blood clots, a patient could remain in a facility like this “essentially forever.”
Bobbi Kristina’s father Bobby Brown recently told the press that his daughter’s eyes are open, her health has improved and that doctors say she will live a long life, while grandmother Cissy Houston told TMZ that Krissi has "global and irreversible brain damage” and is "unresponsive."
In terms of her recovery, Dr. Liker said, “I feel for the family in this situation… it is too soon [to tell]. I tell families you just have to wait, and you have to be very patient. This is not a day-to-day thing. You will not see changes day-to-day, you may not even see change week-to-week, it may come more slowly, and I’m sure that the facility is doing the best that they can in terms of rehabilitation and ways to help her.”