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Injured Irvan Still Critical, Remains on Life Support : Auto racing: Surgeon says vital signs are stable but can’t predict a return of specific functions.

From Associated Press

Race driver Ernie Irvan remained on life support and in critical condition Sunday, a day after a crash at Michigan International Speedway left him with severe head and chest injuries.

“His vital signs over the past 24 hours have been stable and his blood pressure, pulse and vital functions remain on life support, which includes a ventilator for his breathing,” said Dr. Errol Erlandson, trauma surgeon on the medical team treating Irvan.

“The area of the injury to his lungs remains severe but improved. His oxygenation has improved,” Erlandson said via telephone hookup from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital at Ypsilanti.

“We see some increase in improvement on his chest X-ray examination, certainly no worsening. Specifically, there were no areas of hemorrhage of the brain. There was no sign of increasing pressure in the brain. And we see no areas of the brain that have suffered irreversible injury. However, I would point out that the injury is still severe.”

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Asked if there is a specific period of time critical for the 35-year-old Irvan’s chances of recovery, Erlandson said, “I wish I could give you a time frame for improvement, but when we’re dealing with severe neurologic injury, certainly stabilization is very, very important. But, in terms of return of specific functions, it would be fruitless for me to predict.”

The driver has remained unconscious since the crash.


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