February 12, 2012
Producer: Mick O'Donnell, Nick Farrow, Yael Cohn
Reporter: Chris Bath
In his December 15 fall, Molly Meldrum broke his collar bone, shoulder, ribs, and suffered a massive head injury, his close friends and family have revealed to Channel 7's Sunday Night program.
But the speed in which paramedics arrived and conducted Victoria's world-leading new practice - to immediately put brain-injured patients into an induced coma - saved his life.
And, within one month after the fall, his bones were healing and he was slowly able to walk and talk again, but remains in seclusion.
On the day of the accident, Meldrum’s gardener Joe was home and on the phone with Meldrum’s personal assistant and close friend Yael Cohn, when he heard a thump at 6:20pm. Cohn called triple zero.
Cohn told Sunday Night that an ambulance arrived within three minutes and Meldrum was taken to Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital where he underwent surgery to relieve the swelling in his brain.
“I just remember the full panic of arriving at the hospital,” Cohn said. “It was a very frightening experience.”
Meldrum’s brother Brian said “he looked like he was going to the moon, he had so much stuff [tubes] on him”.
“He broke his left collar bone, his shoulder and virtually every rib, or I think every rib on his left-hand side was broken, some of them were broken in two places."
Today, Meldrum remains at the Epworth Rehabilitation Unit suffering from post-traumatic amnesia.
Professor John Oliver who looks after him told Sunday Night his short-term and day-to-day memory is "faulty" and not storing information.
And, to help his brain heal, Meldrum is kept in a low stimulus environment. No-one can see him other than Cohn and his brother Brian.
Professor Oliver said recovery happens "in the first 12 months" but could continue for up to four years. He admitted “there is the likelihood that there are some areas that won't return to normal.”
“Sometimes he's aware of what's happened to him but other times he's not. One minute he knows he's in hospital, he knows he has had a fall, the next minute he is in Paris about to catch a plane,” Cohn said.
"It's a bit like his brain's rewiring. It's been scrambled and it has to rewire itself."
Watch the full story here:
Brain Injury Australia
Life threatening brain injuries are all too common in Australia. Molly's brother Brian says families and many of their friends are faced with this situation all too often.
"We're getting all this support and it's a wave of support and you can see that but there are other people who are in exactly the same position and they've only got themselves and their family and friends and they really have to support eachother. I felt very much for those people."
Further details about such injuries can be found at Brain Injury Australia. The organisation has a toll free number 1800BRAIN1 (1800 272 461).
Messages to Molly from his mates
Molly's mate Michael Gudinski
Rod Stewart's message to Molly
Lionel Ritchie's message to Molly
Selected images courtesy of Getty Images