Doctors: Robin Gibb is 'fully conscious'

April 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
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LONDON, April 23 (UPI) -- Robin Gibb's doctors say the British singer-songwriter has advanced colorectal cancer but is "fully conscious" after days in a coma.

The 62-year-old former Bee Gees musician is being treated by Dr. Andrew Thillainayagam, his physician and gastroenterologist; Dr. Peter Harper, his medical oncologist; Roger Springall, his colorectal surgeon; and Dr. John Goldstone, anesthetist in charge of the intensive care team at The London Clinic.

"Despite having advanced colorectal cancer, Robin responded extremely well to Dr. Harper's aggressive chemotherapy treatment, but went on to need two emergency operations in the space of two months. In the aftermath, Robin developed the feared complication of pneumonia when he was very weak and fighting to recover from life-saving surgery for peritonitis," Thillainayagam, of Imperial College Healthcare, said in a statement posted on Gibb's Facebook page Monday.

"He failed to respond to chest physiotherapy and intravenous antibiotics. Therefore, I had to transfer him to intensive care for non-invasive, assisted ventilation," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, he continued to have worsening respiratory distress and lost consciousness for a number of reasons. Eventually, he developed serious respiratory failure and was unable to ventilate his lungs on his own. We had to place him on artificial ventilation. The prognosis was very grave, given that Robin had brain swelling from liver failure, a severe pneumonia and a weakened immune system from malnutrition."

The doctor said he has managed Gibb's medical problems "very aggressively according to his explicit wishes."

Gibb's wife, Dwina, son, Robin John and brother, Barry, were told three days ago "it was very likely that Robin would succumb to what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles to any form of meaningful recovery," the doctor said.

"It is testament to Robin's extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength that he has overcome quite incredible odds to get where he is now. Robin is fully conscious, lucid and able to speak to his loved ones. He is breathing on his own, with an oxygen mask. He is on intravenous feeding and antibiotics. He is of course, exhausted, extremely weak and malnourished.

"Our immediate goals are to ensure that Robin's swallowing mechanism is safe enough to allow him to eat and drink, and that he recovers enough strength to breathe effectively, without needing high levels of oxygen by mask. When this happens, we will be able to begin the process of nutritional and physical rehabilitation and may be able to move him from the intensive care unit to the ward."

The doctor said Gibb's family was at his bedside every day he was in the coma, talking to him and playing his favorite music.

"The road ahead for Robin remains uncertain but it is a privilege to look after such an extraordinary human being."

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