A woman who spent almost 30 years in a coma is now alert and talking after her family refused to give up hope for her recovery.
Munira Abdulla, of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, suffered brain damage in a car accident in 1991 and never regained consciousness, according to Tribune Media. She had been picking up her 4-year-old son, Omar Webair, now 32, from school.
The National reports her son spent countless hours by her side, hopeful that the doctors were wrong and his mother would wake up eventually. And 27 years later, in 2018, she did.
“I never gave up on her because I always had a feeling that one day she will wake up,” Webair said.
Webair remembers the accident well. He said his mother and her brother-in-law came to pick him up from school, and he and his mother were sitting in the back seat when they saw a bus coming toward them, he said.
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“When she saw the crash coming, she hugged me to protect me from the blow,” Webair said.
He survived with minimal bruises, but his mother suffered severe head injuries. According to the report, Abdulla was moved around to multiple different hospitals for treatment.
Here’s more from the Daily Wire:
Omar would visit his mother every day, walking more than a mile to see her. He said he spent hours with her each day and could tell whether she was in pain, even though she couldn’t speak. He said it was tough to hold down a job due to his mother’s condition, but he didn’t regret anything.
“I never regretted it. I believe that, because of my support for her, God saved me from bigger troubles,” he told The National.
In 2017, the family received a government grant for special treatment at a hospital in Germany, according to the report. While there, one day, Webair said he got into an argument in his mother’s hospital room, and his mother seemed to sense that something was wrong. He said she began to make sounds, but doctors dismissed them as not being unusual.
Three days later, however, Webair said his mother screamed his name and then the names of other people she knew.
“I was flying with joy. For years I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said,” he told The National.
Bobby Schindler, whose sister Terri Schaivo was euthanized because she was in a minimally conscious state, talked with LifeNews about Abdulla’s case.
“This extraordinary woman, Munira Abdulla, was thought to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for almost 30 years,” he said. “The PVS diagnosis is mis-diagnosed close to 50% of the time.”
“Often times, as in the case of my sister, Terri, it is used to justify ending the patients life. It is deeply disturbing that we are deliberately killing patients based on a diagnosis that is wrong almost half of the time. In fact, new research is learning that what these patients need is not only time for the brain to recover, but ongoing therapy and rehabilitation,” Schindler added.
He told LifeNews: “Sadly, as long as we accept death as the alternative to caring for these persons, too many of these patients will be purposely killed without ever receiving the benefit of rehabilitation and the opportunity to recover. God bless her family for their life-affirming care and for never giving up hope!”
Since waking up, Abdulla has been making slow and steady progress. According to the report, she now is able to answer questions, recite verses from the Koran and make short trips out of the hospital, including to a mosque.
Her son encouraged families “not to lose hope for their loved ones. All those years, the doctors told me she was a hopeless case.”
New scientific research provides more hope for these families as well. Research in 2018 by the renowned American Academy of Neurology found that about four in 10 people who are thought to be unconscious are actually aware. They estimated the misdiagnosis rate is about 40 percent for people with severe brain injuries, including those diagnosed as persistent vegetative state (PVS), and noted that the misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment and poor outcomes.
A hopeful sign, approximately one in five people with severe brain injury from trauma will recover with proper treatment – many to the point that they can live at home and care for themselves without help, according to the academy.