From left, Geoff Manley, chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) and Trauma Center, Bryan Stow, his parents Dave and Ann Stow, and sister Bonnie Stow prepare for Bryan to leave SFGH by ambulance to a rehabilitation faciity on Oct. 11.
San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center has released patient Bryan Stow, who was transferred Tuesday to a rehabilitation facility where he can continue recovering from a severe traumatic brain injury he suffered March 31 in an attack in Los Angeles.
“Bryan has been an extremely challenging patient,” said Geoff Manley, MD, chief of neurosurgery at SFGH and professor of neurosurgery at UCSF. “It has been a roller coaster, but he is young and strong and has made tremendous advances. To get this far, it was vital that he be at a place that specializes in acute care for brain-injured patients. Now it is equally important that he receive care from a place that specializes in rehabilitation for patients with brain injuries.”
Manley, who is an internationally recognized expert in neurotrauma, led Stow's care team when he arrived at SFGH on May 16. Affiliated with UCSF since 1873, SFGH specializes in care for brain and spinal cord injured patients. Earlier this month it became the first hospital in the country to be certified for a Traumatic Brain Injury Program by the Joint Commission.
The Stow family has requested that the name of the rehabilitation facility not be released, to allow time for them and Bryan to settle in and begin working with the new care team.
“We feel immense relief today, knowing that Bryan is ready to start the next chapter of his story,” the family said in a statement. “Though we won’t miss the hospital, we will miss the people at San Francisco General. Everyone there has been so wonderful and kind to us, and we know that Dr. Manley and the team have given Bryan the best care possible.”
After being severely injured in an assault outside Dodgers Stadium, Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, underwent a decompressive craniectomy at LAC+USC Medical Center, a life-saving surgical procedure to remove a piece of his skull to relieve pressure caused by brain swelling resulting from the beating. That procedure allowed him to live, but the extent of his recovery remained unknown.
At SFGH, Manley replaced Stow's missing skull fragment on August 10 with a custom prosthetic bone flap. Shortly afterward, a shunt was placed to drain fluid from Stow’s brain to protect him from further harm.
Stow has come a long way since May. Initially comatose, taking a series of anti-seizure medications and struggling with several medical complications, Stow now can follow commands, speak a few words, interact with his family and caregivers, breathe on his own, and he is starting to eat.
“We know more about him than many other places would,” Manley said, “because we have the research, technology and the experience of treating thousands of brain injured patients. For these patients, recovery is not a straight line. There are neurological issues as well as complex medical issues that need to be monitored closely and managed aggressively by a dedicated expert team. We still don’t know where Bryan’s long road will take him, and it will take years to find out. But today we do know that he is getting better and is ready for the next phase of treatment.”