NAVIGATION

All in the Mind

Jack (not the patient’s real name), a high school student from Hong Kong, suffered an unexplained severe headache just before a trip to Beijing. When he got off the airplane in Beijing, he was vomiting and had trouble speaking. The symptoms quickly intensified and, within the day, Jack fell into a coma, suffering from respiratory impairment and hemiplegia (total paralysis of the arm, leg, and trunk on one side of the body). He was rushed to BJU after a local hospital could not diagnose his condition.

A computed tomography (CT) brain scan was immediately ordered. The CT scan showed a huge tumor located in his left temporal lobe and the mid-line of Jack’s entire brain had been pushed to the right. He was immediately brought into the operating room to undergo a brain tumor resection procedure. After the operation, Jack was further treated to prevent dehydration, infection, and seizures. During his recovery, he was also given nutritional support and engaged in early rehabilitation. On the fifth day after the operation, Jack began to regain consciousness, and his tubes were removed. On the ninth day after surgery, he was discharged from BJU.

Though the rapidity of the progression of Jack’s tumor was clinically rare, his recovery was remarkably quick. He was able to communicate shortly after regaining consciousness and was completely lucid on the ninth postoperative day. In many similar cases, patients are at a high-risk for compromised vision. However, Jack’s pupils were completely back to normal, and he regained so much strength in his limbs that he was stronger than his preoperative condition. It was a privilege to take care of Jack and his family.

He is now back home in Hong Kong continuing his rehabilitation.