When Jamie Crane-Mauzy stood at the start line of the slopestyle event at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler on April 11, 2015, she had no idea it would be the race of her life. “The last thing I remember was falling asleep the night before. I don’t recall the event at all,” says Jamie.
Just 15 seconds into the competition while attempting a double back flip on the first jump, she crashed. Jamie suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that resulted in microbleeds throughout her brain and brain stem. She was flown to Vancouver General Hospital, where she remained in a coma for eight days.
What Jamie didn’t know was that she was the first patient in B.C. to undergo autoregulation monitoring, a technique where doctors determine the precise oxygen and blood pressure levels so a patient’s brain can rest. Doctors were worried that Jamie’s brain wasn’t receiving adequate life-sustaining oxygen levels.
Dr. Mypinder Sekhon, Critical Care Medicine, Vancouver Coastal Health says the medical team inserted a catheter into her brain, which was attached to a monitor set, and then manipulated her blood pressure with powerful medications to make her heart pump harder. This allowed Jamie’s blood pressure to increase dramatically. As a result, her brain oxygen levels normalized over the ensuing hours,” says Dr. Sekhon. Jamie was kept in a medically induced coma to allow her brain to recover.
Today, Jamie is back skiing although not competitively. She has no noticeable signs of the injury that nearly claimed her life.
“I had to learn everything again; How to walk and talk, and remember who I was and everyone I knew,” she says. “But I stayed strong and I healed. A big portion of my recovery is being happy.” She travelled to Vancouver with her sister, Jeanee Crane-Mauzy, to thank the doctors who helped save her life.View photos
Dr. Donald Griesdale and Dr. Sekhon studied the treatment at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and were instrumental in bringing it to Vancouver. They along with Doctor Brian Toyota, Head of Neurosurgery, Vancouver Coastal Health, determined that Jamie was a good candidate for autoregulation monitoring.
“Jamie’s incredible recovery is due to the strength of our health system, acting swiftly to save her life,” says Health Minister Terry Lake. “Credit goes to the quick thinking of the doctors working in critical care medicine at Vancouver Coastal Health, who used innovative treatment that allowed Jamie’s brain the best chance at healing.”
Since Jamie’s accident, 36 other patients have been treated with autoregulation monitoring at Vancouver General Hospital.
“60 per cent of our patients have had favourable outcomes, compared to 37 percent with traditional treatment,” says Dr. Donald Griesdale, Critical Care Medicine, VCH. “This technique is giving severe brain trauma patients a better shot at recovering to the point where they are able to live independently.”