Report: Nick Hogan passenger John Graziano will require lifelong care
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/09/2007
John Graziano, the 22-year-old active-duty Marine that was a passenger in Hogan Knows Best co-star Nick Hogan's Toyota Supra when it crashed in late August, is expected to require lifelong care that will probably require he spend the remainder of his life in a nursing home, according to recently filed court documents.
A September 19 report filed by registered nurse Joanne Jones -- who was hired by Pinellas County court to examine and determine if Graziano, who remains in critical condition at a St. Petersburg hospital, is incapacitated -- said he was comatose, on "total life support," and may have suffered a seizure due to injuries from the crash, The St. Petersburg Timesreported Tuesday.
While the report claims Graziano is responsive to pinches and also has gag reflexes, he has otherwise not responded to touch or sound and his pupils are fixed, a sign they are not reacting to light, according to The Times.
Police and witnesses allege 17-year-old Hogan was speeding in a Toyota Supra around 7:30PM on August 26 in Clearwater, FL when he lost control and hit a raised median, spinning the vehicle and causing its rear end to strike a palm tree. While Hogan was released from the hospital the day following the crash, Graziano -- a U.S. Marine who has served two tours of duty in Iraq -- has since remained at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Medical Center.
Jones detailed Graziano's injuries in the report, stating he broke his skull at the base; had part of his skull cut out; experienced brain swelling; suffered cuts to his scalp; and also had abnormal collections of blood under the front side of his skull, according to The Times.
Jones filed an addendum to her initial report on September 26, and it included information from Graziano's doctor, H. Bushnell Clarke, who told her at best that Graziano will "open his eyes on and off."
"At this present time, [Clarke] states his prognosis remains guarded," Jones wrote in the addendum, according to The Times. "He states that this young man most likely will spend the remainder of his life in a nursing home."
In addition, The Times reported court-appointed medical professional Dr. Malcolm Fraser conducted examinations last month and listed Graziano as Glasgow Coma Scale 3, according to The Times, which is the lowest rating on the scale that is used to assess the recovery of traumatic brain injury patients by measuring eye, verbal and motor responses.
"The signs that he has a gag reflex and does not respond to pain means he's not brain dead," Coleen Booker, a registered nurse at University of Florida's Shands Hospital, told The Times, adding it's still "not encouraging" that Graziano's pupils are fixed and he's on life support.
Graziano's mother Debra is petitioning a Pinellas County judge to assume guardianship of her son, The Times reported, adding she was granted emergency temporary guardianship on September 27, which allowed her to apply for military benefits on her son's behalf.
A hearing is set for Wednesday as John's father Edward -- who is estranged from Debra -- is contesting her application for guardianship, according to The Times. Edward's attorney Steven Hearn told The Times his client is seeking an independent guardian for his son.
Debra's lawyer George Tragos also refuted Jones' report, as he told The Times on Monday that John's condition has improved because he's now responding to stimuli.
"That's one doctor's opinion but it's not the full medical picture," Tragos told The Times of Jones' report.
Clearwater police are still investigating the crash, according to The Times, and no charges have been filed.