Chris Marchington and Claire Trigger went in to see the team and they wanted to post this important update.
“I went with Claire to the panel meeting at the neuro disability specialist hospital in Putney on Thursday afternoon, as Will’s representatives. There were two doctors, Dr. Hanrahan who is the lead medical specialist, and a second doctor who supervises his drug regime. There was also his social worker, his physio / lead nurse, and a researcher who specialises in using music to stimulate brain activity. You could not have asked for a more dedicated or caring team.
They took us through a long report (c. 20 pages) which covered every aspect of Will’s care and current state. The purpose of the document is to log the last ten weeks assessment and care provided, and to marshall the facts for the clinical commissioning group who will be be instrumental in deciding what happens next. The key decisions are, of course, where does Will go next and what type of care does he get. Compared to how he was in January, he looks so much better – he’s put on weight, and some time in the sun has put some colour back in his cheeks. He’s not in any danger physically (unless he catches an infection) and all his organs are functioning – except of course, for his brain. His team have noted no improvement in his responses to stimuli, and all movements are made for him, such as turning him, sitting him up, putting him in his wheelchair etc. They have to conclude that he is minimally conscious, and see no probability of that changing. All they can do, and all they can recommend, is keeping him physically comfortable.
His next ‘home’ will offer both the necessary caring and medical skills to cater for his complex needs. They expect this will be from early September. I am sorry I have no better news to pass on, but the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability team are meant to be amongst the best in the country, and would not raise any false expectation for a change in his state.
I am thrilled they have been using music therapy, highly appropriate for our Willum, so he will add to an extraordinary piece of experimental treatment that may benefit others. He even, thanks to Paul Cartledge tracking down tapes, got to listen to some of his own tunes, as well as other favourites.
The social worker summed it up as she was showing us out. She said Will seemed like a man she’d would have really loved to have met, given everything she’d heard about him. Let’s all keep our memories of Will alive, and do what we can with our visits and gifts to add variety, interest, and love to his life – even though he may not consciously know who we are or what we are doing.”
Thank you to Chris and Claire for going in and I trust more of us will make the effort to visit when we can. I look forward to meeting up with Michael Banks and a few others when I visit Will on August 16th.
As Chris so rightly says, please keep you memories of Will alive, but go and see him and make whatever time he has left full of his memories of you.