Former Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Pedro Guerrero required an emergency brain procedure to address an intraventricular hemorrhage Monday night, a surgeon at the hospital where Guerrero is recovering told USA TODAY Sports.
Guerrero, 60, was in a coma at a New York hospital when he underwent a ventriculostomy, where a tube is placed through a hole in the skull to drain fluid. Once stabilized and treated, Guerrero was transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital, were he remains in critical condition on Tuesday, according to Rafael Ortiz, the hospital’s chief of neuro-endovascular surgery and interventional neuroradiology.
“The swelling on the brain has improved a little bit,” Ortiz said. “He’s now following commands and is understanding what we are saying. While he’s in critical condition, he’s doing much better than last night.”
Speculation about Guerrero’s health traversed the internet over the last several hours, including some reports that he had died in his native Dominican Republic.
“I know there was a lot of confusion,” Ortiz said. “I imagine there was some at the first hospital, which gave those close to him mixed messages on his condition. He did not have a heart attack. He’s not brain dead. There was never talk about organ donation. I want to straighten that out."
Guerrero had suffered strokes in the past, which Ortiz said required surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital two years ago. Neurosurgeon David Langer performed that procedure, and Ortiz said Guerrero had been in fair health before Monday.
Guerrero is breathing with the support of a ventilator and he’s on medication to further reduce the swelling in his brain.
“It could go either way,” Ortiz said. “He still recovering and could go on to live a meaningful life, but it’s too early to tell.”
Ortiz said Guerrero would undergo further tests if he continues to improve in order to determine what caused the intraventricular hemorrhage.
Ortiz said Guerrero’s chances of recovery would have been greater if he had first arrived at a hospital like Lenox Hill, which has extensive neurosurgery resources.