An Emirati woman has regained consciousness after almost three decades in a coma.
Munira Abdulla, 60, suffered a brain injury in a car accident in 1991. She then spent the past 28 years in a series of hospitals, where doctors believed her chance of recovery was negligible.
An incident in her hospital room in Germany brought her back to consciousness last year.
Her son Omar Webair, 32 described the ordeal “I never gave up on her because I always had a feeling that one day she will wake up,”.
“I was four when the accident happened, and we used to live in Al Ain.
At about 4pm, his mother, driven by her brother-in-law, picked young Omar. On their way home, a school bus rammed into them.
“My mother was sitting with me in the back seat. When she saw the crash coming she hugged me to protect me from the blow,” Mr Webair said.
He walked away from the accident with only a bruise on the head but Ms Abdullah, who was 32 at the time, bore the brunt of the crash, suffering a traumatic brain injury.
“There were no mobile phones and we could not call an ambulance for help. She was left like that for hours,” said Mr Webair.
Ms Abdulla was eventually taken to hospital where it was recommended she be transferred to a facility in the UK to be treated in London. There she was declared to be in a vegetative state — completely unresponsive but able to sense pain.
Doctors diagnosed a minimally conscious state — a severe impairment of consciousness, characterised by minimal preservation of conscious towards the patient and their surroundings.
When she was returned to Al Ain, she was placed in hospital, where she would remain for a few years, fed through a tube and kept alive. She she underwent physiotherapy to ensure her muscles did not deteriorate from a lack of movement.
In April 2017, the Crown Prince Court heard of her condition and offered the family a grant for a comprehensive multidisciplinary programme in Germany.
In Germany, doctors prioritised physical therapies and treating Ms Abdulla’s epilepsy.
The therapy seemed to improve her state and she appeared to begin to consciously perceive her children as well as the doctor.
Around a year later, in June 2018, during Ms Abdulla’s last week of treatment in Germany, the unexpected occurred.
“There was a misunderstanding in the hospital room and she sensed I was at risk which caused her a shock,” Mr Webair said. Her son had been involved in an argument in her hospital room and his mother, seemingly prompted by the raised voices, began to stir.
“Then three days later I woke up to the sound of someone calling my name.
“It was her! She was calling my name, I was flying with joy; for years I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said.”
After that Ms Abdullah became more aware and responsive.
A medical report issued from the Hospital last month says that she is "currently able to communicate with self and surrounding in a very reasonable manner especially in familiar situations.”
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