01/18/2006

Note to editors and news directors: Video from this morning’s press briefing will be posted online later today at: http://www.health.wvu.edu/mccloy/mccloy.htm .  This will be the only update today.

McCloy Shows Improvement

Mine accident survivor begins to emerge from coma

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Randal McCloy’s physicians reported hopeful signs Wednesday – he is opening his eyes and appears to be starting to emerge from his two-week coma. But they cautioned that his recovery has been slow and its eventual outcome is still unknown.

The sole survivor of the Sago Mine accident remains in serious condition in the step-down unit at West Virginia University Hospitals.

According to his primary physician, Larry Roberts, M.D., McCloy is still suffering from kidney failure and requires dialysis. But his heart, lung, liver and muscle functions are nearing normal.

In the past several days, he has shown neurological improvements, according to Julian Bailes, M.D., chair of neurosurgery at WVU. He has been keeping his eyes open more consistently, and is able to swallow ice chips. He is still unable to communicate, and is dependent on a feeding tube for nutrition.

WVU physicians intend to continue his physical therapy, and are discussing a possible move to a rehabilitation center if his improvement continues.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” Dr. Roberts said. Both doctors, however, stressed that his recovery will take weeks or months, and that there is still no way to determine the extent of any permanent injuries.

- WVU -


06-032
For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
casew@rcbhsc.wvu.edu
sw:01-18-06

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