Brandon Zucker, the 4-year-old boy critically injured on a Disneyland ride, returned briefly to UC Irvine Medical Center this week because of more complications from his injury.
Brandon spent the first several weeks after the Sept. 22 accident at the hospital in Orange, but was transferred in early November to a long-term care facility in the city, HealthBridge Children's Rehabilitation Hospital.
Monday night, he was taken back to UCI Medical Center for more testing and to treat brain swelling--two days before a scheduled visit to Childrens Hospital of Orange County, said Elinor Silverstein, a family friend.
"The doctors at UCI said, 'We want him now,' " Silverstein said.
Doctors performed tests and decided that Brandon did not immediately need a brain shunt to help reduce the swelling and by Tuesday afternoon, he was back at HealthBridge, Silverstein said.
Despite the unplanned hospital visit, Brandon continues to show limited progress, she said, showing occasional glimpses of recognition when the telephone rings or when he hears other sounds.
"It's still so tremendously devastating," Silverstein said.
Brandon, who turns 5 in January, was trapped under a vehicle in the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin attraction for about 10 minutes. When he was freed, the 45-pound boy was not breathing and had no pulse.
He suffered a torn liver, spleen and diaphragm, a collapsed left lung and a fractured pelvis. It is unclear how long Brandon went without oxygen, but he suffered severe brain damage.
He is now considered "minimally responsive."
His parents and older brother had been living in Canyon Country but recently moved to Irvine to be closer to Brandon.
State officials from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the accident, said they are concluding their inquiry but have not yet issued their report.
Disneyland officials said the ride will remain closed until the agency gives them the go-ahead to reopen.