Doctors upgrade condition of beaten Giants fan

This undated image provided Tuesday April 5, 2011 by John Stow shows Bryan Stow holding his 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.
June 22, 2011 6:36:33 PM PDT
Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten on opening day outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, has now reached a major milestone in his recovery. Doctors say they have seen enough improvement that they have upgraded Stow's condition from critical to serious.

The change in Stow's condition an indication that the touch and go phase of his treatment is over and now, the hard work of helping him regain as much brain function as possible is set to begin.

"Bryan Stow sustained a traumatic brain in that he probably would not have survived 10 years ago," Dr. Geoff Manley said.

But now, three months after the brutal beating, there are signs his brain is working again.

"He's been able to intermittently open and close his eyes in response to, say, 'Can you close your eyes, can you open your eyes,' so again, that suggests that we do have some circuits that are reconnecting and there is some level of function," Manley said.

Stow is now breathing without a ventilator and doctors have been able to take him off some of the seizure medications that have kept him sedated. They say his response to the change is encouraging.

"He's began to spontaneously open his eyes, he started to have some movement of his left arm and he is intermittently, and I want to again focus on this -- intermittently, been able to follow some simple commands," Manley said.

Doctors at San Francisco General Hospital say those are all good signs. Just how good, they say they do not quite yet know. What they do know is the recovery process from this point will be a slow one and for now, Stow will have to stay at the hospital.

Stow's co-workers at American Medical Response have been doing all they can to help fund his hospital stay; they are now selling hats and t-shirts. Though they are all too familiar with brain injuries, they say Wednesday's development is good news.

"We think it's great; it's one of the best news that we've received about Bryan since this whole incident has happened," Virginia Jones said.

Stow's co-workers are anxious for him to return to work, but doctors caution they do not know when or even if that will happen.

"We all want this to happen tomorrow, but the fact is that it really takes months," Manley said.

Los Angeles police are still searching for evidence that would connect convicted felon Giovanni Ramirez to Stow's beating. Ramirez is heading to state prison for 10 months on an unrelated parole violation.


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