Mercedian urges Huddlestons to hold onto hope

The unfortunate news of Kameron Huddleston has generated a wave of comments, e-mails and phone calls down here at the Sun-Star.


Here's the latest and most reassuring.


It comes from a local man, David Hoffman, who has been following the Huddleston stories closely and experienced a similiar ordeal 15 years ago with his brother Dennis.


Dennis, who suffers from acute asthma and bronchitis, lived in Tollhouse at the time, just east of Fresno, up in the foothills. One year, as local fires made it harder and harder to breathe, Dennis visited the now-defunct Valley Medical Center in Fresno for relief, possibly a cure.


After a round of Pretizone failed miserably and sent Dennis to the emergency room, doctors ordered a short-term coma. How it helps with asthma I don't know, but according to David, those were the doc's orders.


"(The coma) was only supposed to last three weeks," David said. "It lasted nine months! He came out OK, but in the meantime, he had the same oxygen problems as Kameron."


While it's still unclear what stopped the flow of oxygen to Kameron's brain, Dennis' case was marred by inadequate hospital care. His trach tube, which is inserted through the neck and into a patient's windpipe, was removed to be cleaned and never re-connected.


Simply, Dennis wasn't getting the oxygen he needed. TO LIVE.


"My sister walked in and saw that he was purple," David said. "The bells and whistles were all going off, but where were they?"


Eventually, Dennis emerged from his coma -- cursing to high heavans.


"One day, he wakes up cursing like a sailor," David said. "Nine months, who knew?"


The effects are noticeable, David said.


Dennis suffered some brain damage from the lack of oxygen, causing him to have short-term memory loss. He often tells the same story over and over again. Dennis also suffers from periodic, sudden onset seizures.


"We'll take anything," David said, "even the seizures."


The moral of the story isn't that Dennis is still ill -- it's that he's alive. And he hopes the Huddleston family can latch onto this story.


"There were times we were told he wasn't going to make it," David said. "If you could let them know not to give up. Let them know that my brother's (coma) lasted nine months. Yeah, he came with some brain damage, and yes, he tells the same story over and again. But he's up and doing great."