Nov 22, 2017 Latest post:
May 31, 2018
Thank you all for your concern and support since this ordeal began. We receive so many caring messages everyday that we thought it would be a good idea to provide updates of Sam's progress; hence this website.
As most of you know, Sam, a junior at Tulane University, was studying abroad in Madrid for the fall semester. Early the morning of October 17, we received a phone call from the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, informing us that Sam had a bicycle accident and was in critical condition at Clinico Hospital San Carlos. The doctor in the ICU explained that Sam suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and that they had performed a partial craniectomy to reduce brain swelling. We arrived the morning of October 18, met with the doctors and learned that Sam's condition and prognosis were pretty grim. The next several days were especially trying as Sam underwent two additional surgeries, including a second craniectomy. He spent the following two weeks in a medically induced coma. We watched over him everyday praying and hoping that we'd see his pretty blue eyes open.
The doctors cautioned us that Sam's condition and progress would be like a roller coaster ride; lots of ups and downs. Once the sedation was reduced and Sam started to wake up, we experienced quite a ride. Seeing Sam awake was awesome and the answer to hundreds of prayers. Subsequently Sam encountered pneumonia and another infection that set him back a couple of weeks. In order to return home, Sam requires another surgery, a cranioplasty, to re-insert his skull. The surgery was put on hold until Sam proved infection free and stable. Finally, it looks like the surgery will take place this Friday, November 24. Anticipated recovery is approximately a week and then he should be cleared for air transport home.
While Sam's overall care here in Madrid has been excellent, there have been challenges due to not knowing the system here and the language barrier. It's not unusual to have a conversation with a nurse when we understand NADA, nor does she. The doctors here have said Sam's progress is like "magic"; his clinical progress is much better than they expected based on the MRI and brain scans. He recognizes us, responds well, can read and exhibits some of his sense of humor at times.
The current plan is for Sam's first stop back in the US to be at the Washington Hospital Center. Once checked out there, he will begin rehabilitation at National Rehabilitation Center in DC. He has a long road ahead but we feel optimistic that with the right care and support he will recover.
We mentioned that the doctor's here refer to Sam's progress as "magic" but truly we feel that it a result of the love, prayers and support that he has received from all over the world. People we don't know have been praying for Sam. Many of you receive the "daily prayer" sent out by Sam's Aunt Jackie, but composed by a co-worker, Ryan Koppel. A family here in Madrid that we just met, visits Sam regularly and prays for him. Sam's roommates and friends here visit daily and we've had visits from Uncle Bill, Uncle Danny, close friend, Nancy Socher, Rabbi Bernstein from our temple and Ben and Brian. The support for Hannah and the dogs at home has been amazing. Please keep up your prayers and positive thoughts; they are reaching Sam and us across the pond.
We will update as Sam progresses. Happy Thanksgiving