Family of Brain-Injured Stuntman Outraged over Hangover II Movie Trailer

Stuntman Suffers Severe Brain Injury

The movie trailer for the popular film The Hangover Part II depicts a Bangkok car chase. At one point in the chase, actor Ed Helms puts his head out a car window. The mischievous scene depicts men behaving badly and having fun doing it.

Stuntman Suffers Severe Brain Injury

What the audience does not see occurs a split second later. Just as Helms’ stunt double, Scott McLean, put his head out of the window, tragedy struck. While McLean was racing his car at high speeds, another stuntman was driving a truck. A miscalculation resulted in the truck colliding with McLean’s car. The stuntman suffered severe head injuries.

Response from McLean’s Family

The audience believes they see Helms looking out of the car window. In actuality, it is McLean, seconds before the crash the caused his severe brain injuries. According to McLean’s family, the marketers of the film showed great insensitivity to everyone who cares about the stuntman. McLean’s sister in-law Michelle called the scene “a real kick in the face to all those who know Scott.” She continued, “It is sickening to watch, as we all know what happens next.”[1]

Immediately following the accident, emergency workers rushed McLean to a nearby medical center and then transferred him to a Bangkok hospital. Doctors placed McLean in a medically induced coma to minimize brain damage.

Coma as a Treatment for Brain Injury

When a brain injury occurs, the brain reacts by shutting down blood flow to damaged parts of the brain. Unfortunately, this also deprives nearby healthy tissue of blood flow, worsening the injury. By placing McLean in a coma, doctors ensured that he would continue to receive blood flow to vital areas of his brain. The coma also helped minimize brain swelling.

In the weeks that followed, McLean was transferred to a hospital in Sydney where he showed remarkable progress. Although he could not talk, McLean could eat by himself, hold a cup and show affection.

Uncertainty for McLean’s Loved Ones

His partner of 13 years Raelene Chapman expressed hope that he would continue to do well. “The thing with brain injuries is that no one really knows what kind of recovery and what kind of quality of life Scott will have until six months even up to two years. It’s the great unknown. But he’s fit, he’s strong. I feel he’s got a real shot.”[2] His current rehabilitation program includes relearning to walk without assistance and speaking clearly.

Although the production company has been generous in covering McLean’s treatment, it appears that the marketing department did not get the memo. His family does the best they can to support him in his recovery, but the thoughtless marketing has certainly made their pain and frustration worse.

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