Thursday, January 7, 2010

Read Joan Collins' December Article in The Spectator: Christmas in LA

When my daughter Katyana was eight years old she fell into a coma in hospital. I would not allow any of the medical staff around her to talk about her condition in a negative fashion. I was convinced that she was able to comprehend what was being discussed around her bedside and that it would somehow affect her recovery. The doctors, interns and nurses all believed I was a raging nutter and I would hear them tut-tutting as they backed away, whispering how sad it was that my daughter didn’t have much of a chance of recovering. Seven weeks later, much to all the medicos’ amazement, Katy started to open her eyes and react to the world around her.  Reading about Rom Houben this week, who has just recovered from a coma after 20 years, I felt quite vindicated when he came back to consciousness and told the world that he had heard everything that was said around him and understood it too, but had been frustratingly unable to communicate.

Katy was thankfully fully restored to good health thanks to her own indomitable spirit, but I believe that my bedside vigil in which I constantly assured her she would get better (and I wouldn’t let the staff say otherwise) contributed to her complete recovery.  Houben’s doctors used a range of coma tests, which concluded that his consciousness was ‘extinct’ and that he was totally unaware of anything around him. Like me with Katy, Rom’s mother refused to believe this and her being proved right is a great beacon of hope for all those who have suffered brain injuries. Rom Houben’s recovery taught a sharp lesson to those who treat coma patients as if there is no tomorrow.

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