In 1991, a woman from the United Arab Emirates was left brain damaged and in a state of reduced consciousness by a severe car accident. Twenty-seven years later, she woke up — a remarkable medical occurrence that has been documented in only a few other cases.
According to the BBC, Munira Abdulla was 32 when the car she was riding in collided with a bus. Doctors declared her to be in a minimally conscious state. Abdulla spent the next several decades of her life in hospitals and care facilities in the U.A.E., in London and, most recently, in Germany, where she was receiving treatment for seizures and contorted muscles, reports the New York Times.
Her son, Omar Webair, was just four years old at the time of the accident. He told the National that his mother hugged him when she saw the oncoming crash, protecting him from the blow. Webair spent the years by Abdulla’s bedside, always holding out hope that his mother would one day speak to him again. And then, last June, while in her hospital room, he heard her calling his name.
“I was flying with joy,” he said.
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Friedemann Müller, the chief physician at Germany’s Schön Clinic where Abdulla was receiving treatment, told the Times that Abdulla had been fitted with a device that delivered medication directly to her spine, which may have led to her waking up. But her recovery from a years-long coma was unexpected and exceptionally rare. Among the few known patients who have made a similar about-face is Terry Wallis, an Arkansas man who awoke from a 19-year-long coma in 2003.
Webair told the National that his mother can now express when she is feeling pain, recite prayers and have conversations “if she is interested in the topic.”
“I never gave up on her,” he said, “because I always had a feeling that one day she will wake up.”
Read more at the National.