Houston man survived traumatic brain injury Bob Saget died from, shares important advice

Actor Bob Saget lost his life after a head injury about a year ago at 65-years-old. A man from Houston suffered a similar problem but survived, following a six-month hospital stay. Now, his family shares advice about getting a life plan in order before an unexpected tragedy strikes.

We met up with Todd Hansen and his wife Karin as they were delivering gifts of appreciation to a few nurses who made all the difference during his recovery at Memorial Hermann Memorial City. On March 18, 2022, their busy lives came to a halt when Todd went to bed with indigestion.

He woke up in the middle of the night complaining he felt bad, so he got out of bed, but passed out. "I just heard a crash, like a tree falling, it was the loudest fall I've ever heard, and he was lying flat on his back, unconscious," says Karin.

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He remained unconscious for at least 20 minutes, while medics raced him to Memorial Hermann Memorial City in Houston. "I got a call that they were concerned that intracranial pressure was going very high, and we were sort of in an extreme situation where we either operate now or he's pretty much a goner," says Dr. Mark Dannenbaum, the neurosurgeon with UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann who raced to action, removing part of Todd's skull and treating him aggressively in an effort to save his life.

Doctors are still trying to figure out what happened and are studying if there's a problem with his heart to try to prevent it from happening again. During that fall, Todd suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. "It was scary and within the next two days, they noticed more swelling and bleeding in the brain and they needed to do the first brain surgery," says Karin.

"He also developed a condition where he developed this blockage of spinal fluid where we had to put in a catheter to drain spinal fluid called a shunt," explains Dr. Dannenbaum.

Todd also suffered multiple blood clots but kept overcoming the medical hurdles. He doesn't have one memory from the first two months in the hospital but is thankful his wife of 30 years was constantly by his side.


"It has been fantastic! She has really put forth me, instead of doing things that she wanted to do, and she's been out of the business of being personal with everybody by about 12 months, but I want her to take care of herself, I want to take care of things for her," exclaims Hansen.

He now suffers from a condition called aphasia and sometimes has trouble finding the right words, but he easily shared feelings about his loving wife. They learned the hard way how important it is to prepare for a health crisis before it strikes, and now sharing this advice.

"Issues like usernames, passwords, you need to have a will, you should have a living will, you should have a power of attorney, make sure you have all those things and know where they are and your family members know where they are," says Karin.

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Todd underwent months of physical, occupational, and speech therapy through TIRR Memorial Hermann. "I think he's making excellent progress and as close to deficit free as one can be, experiencing this kind of severe traumatic brain injury," says Dr. Dannenbaum.

Todd is ready to go back to work as an accountant and is anxious to work more around the house. "Karin will let me go up the ladder but not go on the roof so that's a bit of a pullback on her part but I can't wait to get back on the roof and take off the pine needles," Todd states laughingly. Still has a great sense of humor! He's also gearing up to get back on the golf course and to ride his dirt bike, all while cherishing his three children and four grandkids.

For more information on traumatic brain injured click here or to learn more about UT Health's Brain Injury and Stroke Program, click here.