Comas are usually a result of a traumatic brain injury. This is often due to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, stroke, underlying illness, and even pedestrian hit and run incidents. An individual who has sustained a traumatic head injury can enter into a prolonged state of unconsciousness, commonly known as a coma.
A coma is classified as a medical emergency, and therefore immediate action is required from medical personnel to increase the patient’s chances of survival. Against all odds, many people have overcome traumatic injuries that have placed them in a coma.
Often, comas vary in their level of severity, and sadly many don’t emerge from one. However, there are many inspiring stories of people who have overcome comas to make a recovery.
Common Causes of a Coma
Before looking into some of the incredible coma stories, it is vital first to understand a few common causes of a coma. This will give an idea of the medical circumstances people have had to overcome to recover from an injury that has caused a coma.
- Head trauma: This type of trauma is the result of swelling or bleeding of the brain. When trauma occurs on the brain, fluid is pushed against the skull, and swelling occurs and can place pressure on the brain stem, which results in a coma.
- Brain bleeds: Often, brain bleeds in the layers of the brain can lead to comas. This is because swelling and compression on certain affected areas of the brain can cause the brain to shift, damaging the brain stem and the reticular activating system.
- Anoxic brain injury: With this type of brain injury that is a common cause of coma, the brain is deprived of oxygen for a certain amount of time, resulting in brain tissue death.
There are various reasons for comas, one of the most common reasons being a coma from a car wreck. Should you have been in a car accident that resulted in a coma or have a loved one suffering from a coma, you might want to contact a lawyer who specializes in these cases. An attorney can assist you in the process to see if you or your loved one qualifies for any kind of compensation.
3 Coma Recovery Stories
Let’s now look at three extraordinary stories where coma patients have recovered and have gone on to live happy and healthy lives.
Ben McMahon – Australia
Ben Mchanon from Australia had learned French and mandarin but was never fluent in either. After suffering a car accident in 2012, Ben went into a coma for one week. Medical professionals predicted McMahon would be lucky to survive. Although, incredibly, Ben recovered from the coma but was surprisingly unable to speak English.
He was, however, able to speak and write fluently in mandarin. Later on, Ben regained his ability to speak English but continued to remain fluent in Mandarin. In September of 2014, he moved to Shanghai, where he currently resides and acts as the host of a TV show.
Sarah Scantlin – America
18-year-old Sarah Scantlin was the victim of a hit and run in 1984. On September 21st, as she left a bar in Kansas, she was hit by a drunk driver who fled the crime scene. Tragically, Sarah sustained a catastrophic head injury when a second car hit her; however, Scantlin managed to survive. Sarah was in a coma for a month as her parents opted to keep her alive, hoping that she would wake up again, which she miraculously did.
In 1985, her parents moved her into a nursing home where she would learn to swallow and eat without a feeding tube. Scantlin’s breakthrough arrived after 16 years in the nursing home when nursing home employee, Pat Rincon, worked with Sarah for four years to try to help her relearn to communicate. In January of 2005, she went on to say her first word after her skull had been crushed.
After nearly 20 years of being in a state of being in a coma and reality, Sarah learned to talk again. At almost 40 years old, despite the coma-like state she was in for many years, she has recovered enough to communicate.
Terry Wallis – America
Terry Wallis is another victim of a car accident that left him suffering a brain injury that resulted in a 19-year long coma. The year was 1984 when Wallis’s pick up truck tragically careened off the side of a bridge in Stone County, Arkansas. Regrettably, a passenger was killed, and Wallis entered a coma. Amazingly, after a few months at the hospital, Terry stabilized into a minimally conscious coma-like state, but was devastatingly left with quadriplegia.
His family continued to remain hopeful that his condition would improve, but this was not the case until June 11, 2003, when Wallis awoke from his 19 year coma. Although he did not recover use of his limbs, he was able to communicate again and became fully aware.
There are many different causes of comas, such as car accidents and pedestrian hit and runs. Often, these accidents lead to traumatic head injuries that cause patients to enter into comas. Incredibly, there are quite a few known cases of individuals who have recovered partially and fully from their coma. The ones mentioned in this article are just a few of these reported medical miracles.