Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Miracle Sleeping Pill Reverses Brain Injury Effects

18 Nov 2011Sam Goddard and Sally Nielsen from Brisbane, QLD in Australia, who met in university, had their whole lives to look forward to. Sam was an accountant, and Sally, a wedding planner, both in their 20's they had planned to get married on their four year anniversary, on the 8th May 2010.

On Valentine's Day 2010, with less than 3 months to go until their big day, Sam was playing a charity game of soccer for his work. He headed the ball, scoring a goal, and then quickly began to feel very ill. He called Sally and told her that he wasn't feeling very well.

Sally arrived at the soccer field to find Sam violently vomiting and rocking back and forth repeating ‘my head's going to explode'. Sam was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he fell into a deep coma; he was rushed into ICU, where doctors held little hope for him.

After undergoing brain scans, it was understood that Sam had suffered two major strokes. Doctors don't know exactly what caused the strokes to occur, but highly doubt that head butting a soccer ball was to blame.

Sam remained in a coma so deep, and his brain appeared to be so badly damaged from the strokes, that doctors prepared the family for the worst. They said that he may not make it through, and if he did, he would not be able to ever walk again, or even breathe on his own. But Sam's loving fiancé Sally, and his supportive family refused to believe what they were told, and pledged to remain by his side, to help him recover.

Sam spent weeks in a coma, and when he emerged from it, he was barely responsive. Sally did notice that his heart and blood pressure monitor changed when she kissed him, so she remained hopeful. He was transferred out of ICU after spending 45 days there.

Doctor's wanted to send Sam to a nursing home to be cared for, but the family pushed to get him into a brain injury unit. With lots of rehabilitation, Sam showed a huge improvement. He began to walk and respond beyond the doctors expectations. His family became so excited, but then it just stopped, and he remained in the same state, without any further improvements.

After the family commenced a search on the internet for miracle cures or drug trials that could assist Sam, they stumbled across some findings that a GP in South Africa had made during the treatment of one of his patients who suffered from a brain injury.

Over ten years ago, Dr Wally Nel's patient needed some medication to help him sleep, and was prescribed Stilnox. When his family gave him a dose of the drug in the middle of the night, to stop him from groaning, within twenty minutes, he was miraculously able to verbally communicate with them more than ever since his brain injury. So Dr Wally now recommends Stilnox to other brain injury patients that he treats.

It took Australian doctors a long time to prescribe Stilnox to Sam as it is intended as a sleeping aid and is still an experimental treatment for brain injury patients. When they were finally granted approval to trial the drug, Sally administered 10ml into Sam's feeding tube. After a week of this and no noticeable reaction, Sally decided to up his dose to 15ml.

Within 20 minutes of taking the drug, Sally noticed Sam's face relaxing, his eyes becoming brighter, and he began to verbally communicate with her. Sally and the family were amazed at what they were seeing.

The effects of Stilnox only last an hour, upon which time, Sam's face begins to stiffen up again, his words start to become more slurred and he gets frightened as he realizes he is going back into his body, where he will be unable to communicate again, until his next dose.

Because Stilnox is still not approved as a brain injury treatment by many doctors, and the long term side-effects are yet to be revealed, Sam only receives one dose of it a day. But the family still remain hopeful that more will come out of this discovery, and Sam will one day return to the vibrant, energetic man he once was.

During his hour that he is able to verbally communicate with Sally, he tells her that he loves her so much and that he can't wait to marry her.

Sam's touching story was featured on Channel nine's 60 Minutes in Australia. To view it, click here: http

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Previous Comments

maggi marjoram from south africa posted on 16 Feb 2015
in 1991 I was in a major car accident, mainly head injuries they believe I had brain damage but after 8 brain scans this turned out not to be but my metabolic rate stopped and I move to a replacement drug to help, my eye had no fluid coming through and this was difficult to handle and I could only smile on one side of my face. I have no memory of the accident three days prior to the accident until plus minus 2 to 3 weeks afterwards. The result was a facial paralysis on the left hand side of my face, neck and upper shouldr similar to palsey in fact most people who did not know me thought I had had a stroke.During the years that followed my neurogologist explained that after then years it would likely be the limit to what I would get back, which was not very much at that time. About 5 years ago a friend gave me some stilnox she had to help her sleep as at that timne my brain was wide awake and so I took half of one each night to help my brain shut down as I am on of those 4 to 5 hour sleepers anyway I made no connection to the twitches and slight movement returning to my upper lip after 20+ years thought that some bodies must be slower than others anyway at the end of last year my doctor prescribed more stilnox to help me get good sleep as I was exhausted and so againi I noticed some fairly radical improvements in how far I could smile, muscles back in my kneck, lines back on my left hand face and being able to smile fairly properly again. Before I saw the program about Stilnox on TV I had said to a few friends that I must find a site to tel people not to give up it might take some bodies longer than others to repair but then the connection with Stilnox came up and so now I am left wondering COULD IT BE STILNOX and if so great! I am improving by the week. Maggi

Keenan Dollie from Johannesburg South Africa posted on 20 Jan 2015
My grandson suffered brain injury two years ago when he almost drowned in our swimmingpool, can this drug be administered to a 3 year old child?

Mieke bismeyer from S-Africa posted on 19 Jan 2015
I have been in a coma almost 4 years ago after a fall.After brain 2 brain surgeries I slowly came around.My speech and coordination was affected but after special care all came right again.This story of Sam really made me realize how lucky I have been. Is wish him total recovery

Catherine King from Bangalore India posted on 29 May 2014
My Son suffered a hit and run traffic accident resulting in him going into a coma for 3mths with severe head injuries and a a diffused cerebral contusion and decreased cerebral oedema in the year 2000, when he was 9 years old. He has since recovered but his speech is impaired to some extent and his right side has a constant tremor resulting in complete uselessness of the right hand. His tremors have been treated with Parkinsons Disease medication but with no success for 6 months. Please let me know if there is any chance the Zolpidem drug can be used as treatment or if there are any AL-TERnatives. Kindly get in touch with me. Thank you.

tai mairi from papUa new guinea posted on 7 May 2014
My husband had a major stroke n has no speech. Pls can somebody help.

Rosemarie Aldrich from Orem Utah posted on 21 Sep 2012
That is terrific that he was able to talk to his girl friend again!I hope and pray that approval takes place to able to give him more of the drug soon!Sincerely Yours,Miss Rosemarie Aldrich a brain injury person.I am almost over a head injury completely .From extreme head injury to way [email protected] email me anytime you want!I go to college at Utah Valley University!

gayle steane from jacobs well qld posted on 4 Aug 2012
my 18 yr old son acquired a severe brain injury after a motor vechicle accident on 1st jan 2012. he is now 7 mths on and has only slight movement in his head, carnt talk or move, is totally dependant and is feed through a PEG tube in his stomach. i an starting him on stilnox after researching stilnox for the past 6mths and talking to Dr. Wally Nel. this week he will be given his first dose. i am very excited about this and am looking forward to any improvement it may bring. you can follow his progress on facebook.

Lorraine from Toowoomba Qld posted on 6 Jan 2012
I saw this story when it first came out and have been thinking about this for a long time. My mother had two strokes three months ago and has a small bleed on the brain which is too risky for an operation because of her age 83 but has recovered fairly well but has been suffering dimentia for 4 years at a fast pace since my father died as he was her life. I'm wondering if that has helped Sam's brain what ifn I try stillnox on my mother if it will help with her brain function with her memory. I would love to hear from anyone who could help me.

Margaret Bell from Brisbane posted on 26 Nov 2011
I watched Sam's story with great hope. My son suffered severe brain damage at the age of 20 in 2005.He does not speak and is fully reliant. I know he is "there" I just have to find the write doctors and convince his family that we should trial this pill.Thank you Sam you are so very fortunate to have Sally. Margaret

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