Amid funerals and wakes from the recent mining tragedy in West Virgina, a small ray of hope shines through for Randy McCloy’s family. McCloy was the only person to survive the disaster, and is reported to be emerging from his coma, but there are some interesting details:
“With great hope, we announce that Randy McCloy is awakening from his coma,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of neurosurgery at the hospital.
But doctors cautioned that it could be weeks or months before they will know the extent of neurological damage suffered by Mr. McCloy, a slight 26-year-old nicknamed Skinny, the youngest of the miners trapped after the explosion.
“We must emphasize that he has a very long way to go,” Dr. Bailes said.
Mr. McCloy, of Simpson, W.Va., may be the longest known survivor of carbon monoxide poisoning, Dr. Bailes said. “So we’re in many ways in uncharted territory in terms of predicting his recovery, but we remain cautiously optimistic.”
In some ways, McCloy’s case is reflective of our modern predicament. Thanks to strides in technology and healthcare, people are surving injuries that would have killed them a decade ago. McCloy seems to have survived unprecedented carbon monoxide levels. With this remarkable recovery comes a great degree of uncertainty–nobody really knows how McCloy will be affected by his injury, and whether those effects will taper off or increase in the following years.