Another conflicting report on the current condition of Bobbi Kristina Brown has emerged.
Contrary to what her paternal relatives have been saying, Bobbi Kristina has not appreciably improved — in fact she has irreversible “global” brain damage — and is still unresponsive, says her maternal grandmother, Cissy Houston.
Houston, mother of Bobbi Kristina’s late mother, Whitney Houston, issued a statement following a flurry of ambiguous remarks over the weekend and on Monday from Bobbi Kristina’s father, stepmother, aunt and their lawyer, suggesting recent positive changes in the 22-year-old’s comatose condition.
Houston’s report on her granddaughter’s condition was more sobering.
“I have just returned from visiting my granddaughter Bobbi Kristina in the hospital and while she is no longer in a medically induced coma, she has a tracheotomy and according to the doctors she has global and irreversible brain damage and remains unresponsive,” Houston’s statement said.
“Meeting with the doctors and understanding that she can live in this condition for a lifetime truly saddens me. We can only trust in God for a miracle at this time. Keep us in your prayers.”
Bobbi Kristina was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her Georgia home on Jan. 31, nearly three years after her mother, Whitney, died in an eerily similar manner in a Beverly Hills hotel.
Bobbi Kristina spent weeks in an Atlanta hospital in a medically induced coma, then was moved to an unnamed rehab facility in March. At the time, Houston told a New York radio station that her condition had remained unchanged.
But on Saturday night at a concert in Texas, her father, Bobby Brown, told the audience that his daughter was “awake” and “watching me.” Then her aunt, Bobby’s sister Tina Brown, posted on Facebook that Bobbi Kristina “woke up and is no longer on life support … she is going to be OK.”
Eventually, Christopher Brown, Bobby Brown’s lawyer, issued a statement late Monday for Brown and his pregnant wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, aimed at clarifying these remarks but leaving more questions.
The statement said there had been “improvement” and that doctors said Bobbi Kristina would live a “long life,” but the “quality of her life would not be known for years to come.” Etheredge-Brown suggested that Bobbi Kristina would one day have a relationship with her unborn half-sister.
The conflicting reports from members of Bobbi Kristina’s family are not unprecedented; even before her tragedy, the two sides did not see eye to eye. Plus, figuring out what’s going on with a patient in Bobbi Kristina’s condition and predicting an outcome is not easy, for doctors or for families.
Elizabeth Torres, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University, says coma patients often are evaluated by doctors based mostly on what they see. But her recent research shows that commonly available wrist sensors, such as a Fitbit or an Apple watch, can detect whether or not a patient’s brain is controlling hand movements — movements that are purposeful but so subtle that the human eye can’t detect them.
She said she spent months monitoring through a wrist sensor a pregnant woman who was in a minimally conscious state after a brain tumor. She found that the patient was not brain damaged beyond repair, that she was still able to control movement of her hands, that she was still “in there.”
“The main problem we have with these kinds of patients is that physicians are making decisions about ending life or continuing life or what kind of therapy (to deploy) without proper instruments, because the human eye is limited in detecting micro movements,” she says.
“If they’re making decisions by just eyeballing the patient, there is no way to detect these purposeful motions.”