A woman came to after she spent 27 years in a coma following a car accident. Her doctor recalled the moment she began to speak again.
Munira Abdulla was injured in 1991 while driving her son home from school in the United Arab Emirates. The boy, Omar Webair, was 4 years old at the time, and she was 32.
Abdulla suffered a serious brain injury, while the boy escaped mostly unscathed, NBC News reported.
The woman was treated in the U.A.E., the United Kingdom, and Germany. However, doctors never thought she would wake up.
Abdulla finally emerged from her coma in June of last year, and her family went public with the story in April of this year.
Never Gave Up Hope
Omar, her now 32-year-old son, told The Sun newspaper in May that he never gave up hope.
“I just never, ever gave up hope. The only thing you have is hope,” he said. “I slept by my mother’s side every night in hospital dreaming that she would wake up. She is my mother and, like most people, you would do anything and everything you can for her.”
“When I was younger, it was not easy to stay with her at hospital because of school and so on,” he continued. “But since around 2008, I’ve been working during the day and staying in the next bed with her at night.”
Omar added: “On weekends I would do her laundry, go shopping for her and so on. I felt like nobody could care for my mother like me … Most doctors never thought she would wake up, they always said it was not in their hands to help her wake up, they can only give her the best quality of life possible.”
After an interview with her doctor Dr. Friedemann Müeller, NBC reported that she regained consciousness after several months of therapy.
“It’s not like waking up in the morning,” he said. “It was a process over weeks as reactions and vocalizations increased and improved.”
Meanwhile, Omar said he was optimistic when he heard his mother making noises, but doctors couldn’t make out the words.
According to the BBC, Omar recalled what had happened.
“There was a misunderstanding in the hospital room and she sensed I was at risk, which caused her a shock,” he told the news outlet. “She was making strange sounds and I kept calling the doctors to examine her, they said everything was normal.
“Then, three days later, I woke up to the sound of someone calling my name. It was her!”
Soon, Abdulla pronounced her son’s name clearly and greeted people.
“She was calling my name. I was flying with joy,” Omar was quoted by USA Today as saying. “For years, I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said.”
“When we realized that she was talking with us, we were ecstatic,” Müeller said.
Müeller noted that he has treated other patients who, after spending weeks or months in a coma, regained consciousness. However, the doctor said that 27 years in an incredibly long time, and added that such cases are extremely rare.
“None [of] us had ever experienced that someone wakes again after 27 years,” he said.
Doctors at the Schon Clinic in Germany took a holistic approach to Abdulla’s treatment. They used “a combination of physical therapy, medicine, operations and sensory stimulation,” according to Deutsche Welle.
Omar said that his mother’s story revealed a lesson in life: Never give up hope.
“I shared her story to tell people not to lose hope on their loved ones,” he said, according to USA Today. “Don’t consider them dead when they are in such a state.”