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Crash survivor tries to get out of bed

By Sasha Harrinanan Wednesday, December 4 2013

Ryan Rampersad is responding so well to physical therapy at Physical Rehabilitation (Rehab) Unit of the St James Medical Complex that he attempted to climb out of his hospital bed this past weekend.

The update on the 21-year-old survivor of the February 24 fatal car accident in the Sea Lots area of the Beetham Highway was provided to reporters yesterday by Dr Peter Poon-King, Specialist Medical Officer at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Port-of-Spain General Hospital (PoSGH). Poon-King is also in charge of the Rehab Unit at the St James Medical Complex.

“When he came to us, he was basically unresponsive. Over the past few months Ryan has had intensive physiotherapy and is now able to move all of his limbs. He’s also alert and aware of his surroundings,” Poon-King said. “Unfortunately he’s not talking yet (but) he is making sounds. My gut feeling is that he will talk in the not too distant future. Over the weekend, he was actually trying to climb out of the bed so although that’s a challenge for us, we were happy and we will deal with the challenge. Basically Ryan’s progress can be described as satisfactory.” When asked if Rampersad could recover completely, Poon-King said people “underestimate the plasticity of the brain.”

Comparing the 21-year-old’s current mental abilities to that of a two-year-old who is learning basic skills, the doctor noted that his patient has responded to music, television, and to conversation directed at him and mostly to his daily physical therapy sessions.

Yesterday was the unit’s annual Christmas party for current and past patients.

Although he didn’t stay for the festivities, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan stopped by yesterday at the request of Poon-King.

He spent several minutes chatting with Rampersad’s wife, Sally Ann Rampersad, and his grandmother, Verro James, before speaking with reporters. “Ryan’s doing very good. Much better than in February. He’ll have to remain here for at least a year. His family is happy, smiling at his progress,” Khan stated.

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