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Question
Posted by: Maureen | 2010/03/04

Memory Loss

I am currently struggling with a very difficult situation and wanted to ''run'' this past you.

A very close friend of mine, aged 38, was found unconscious on 4 January 2010. He has a history of bipolar II, substance abuse and alcohol abuse and traumatic childhood. We assume he had been drinking before he was found, we have no idea how long he had lay unconscious. After 10 days in ICU in hospital, he was released to the medical ward. Since then he has been placed in an old age home as an initial ''safe haven''.

He has lost his memory, he can remember some vague details of his long term memory. He is able to understand you when you speak to him in the present and can hold a memory for perhaps a minute. Other than that, he seems very confused and cannot recollect events. He is however able to remember facts that are repeated over and over to him. He has sensation in his legs but is too weak to walk and is currently in a wheelchair.

I am absolutely devastated at his condition as I have seen him go from a healthy young man, to a disabled, brain injured individual.

He is based in Johannesburg and we need to get him into a facility/ clinic to help him. Would there be any hope for his condition? Can a person be re-trained to have your memory or is it gone permanently?

Also, what type of clinic/ doctor / rehab facility would specialise in treating this sort of patient - can you recommend one? What sort of life expectancy would someone with memory loss/ confusion have? Should one try to get treatment as soon as possible or is it too late?

I thank you for your time!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Hallo Maureen
Has he had a neurological examination and brainscan - he may have had a stroke? It is difficult to say if there is hope or what his rehabilitation prospects are without knowing what the damage is. Maybe you should try and get more info from the doctor that treated him in ICU.
Dr Bets

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Our users say:
Posted by: cyberdoc | 2010/03/04

Hallo Maureen
Has he had a neurological examination and brainscan - he may have had a stroke? It is difficult to say if there is hope or what his rehabilitation prospects are without knowing what the damage is. Maybe you should try and get more info from the doctor that treated him in ICU.
Dr Bets

Reply to cyberdoc

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