Ryan Jones: Wildland Fighter Saved by VGH

Original article posted on the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation website. Ryan’s story is part of a series on new Brain Bolt technology, made possible by donor funding, being pioneered at Vancouver General Hospital.

On a Friday morning in May 2016, unseasonal snow was thick on the road as 22 year old Ryan Jones was on his way to fight a forest fire near Fort St. John. Suddenly the wheels got stuck and his car veered into the oncoming lane. He saw a car approaching and tried to turn back, but his car was stuck in the snow — he couldn’t turn away.

“I don’t remember anything after that,” says Ryan. “I just woke up at the hospital.”

To Ryan, one minute he was driving and the next he was at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). To his parents Donna and Jim, it felt like a lifetime.

“I remember looking at him and hardly recognizing him,” says Donna. “He was a mess, just full of tubes, and he didn’t look like Ryan.”

A Canadian Medical First

At VGH, the medical team determined that after his car crashed Ryan’s heart stopped for 35 minutes, which caused a traumatic brain injury due to lack of oxygen. He also broke a leg and his left hand.

To give Ryan the best chance of recovery, Drs. Myp Sekhon and Don Griesdale had a revolutionary idea. For the first time in Canada they would use the Brain Bolt on a cardiac arrest patient.

The Brain Bolt is a cutting-edge brain monitoring device made possible by funding from donors like you. By placing specialized catheters into a patient’s brain, the medical team receives vital second-to-second information including oxygen levels and blood pressure.

“Immediately after putting in the catheter the team was able to begin healing Ryan’s brain,” says Dr. Sekhon.

Over the next five days, the brain bolt provided the critical information needed for the team to adjust Ryan’s blood pressure to the optimal levels for his recovery.

Six weeks later, he woke up. At first Ryan was unable to speak or walk. He needed the best rehabilitation in the province, so he was referred to GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre — a boot camp for the brain and body.

The rest of this story is available on the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation website.

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