DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A woman from the United Arab Emirates whose awakening from a 27-year-long stupor has grabbed international headlines is a rare but not unique case, one of the German doctors who treated here says:
The story of Munira Abdulla was first published by Abu Dhabi's National newspaper on Monday. The newspaper reported that in 1991, Abdulla was with her when a school bus collided with their car. Her son, cradled by his mother before the crash, escaped with a breeze to the head.
Abdulla was 32 at the time. That same son, himself now 32, was quoted saying his mother regained consciousness in a German hospital last year. A photo shows here in a wheelchair visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where she now resides.
Friedemann Mueller, the principal consultant at the Schoen Clinic in Bad Aibling, duty German news site Spiegel Online that his patient had until recently been in a state of "minimal consciousness," during which she was able to open her eyes and briefly focus on something, such as her son's face.
Mueller, a neurological specialist, told Mirror Online that Abdulla's vegetative state shouldn't be confused with a coma
"No patient simply wakes up from a coma after 27 years," he was quoted as saying.
"The physical and mental state of the patient increased enormously over a period of a few weeks, "he added. "She can now interact consciously with her environment and participate in family life again." During her years in hospitals, Abdulla was tube-fed and underwent physiotherapy to prevent her muscles deteriorating. After she was transferred to Germany, Mueller said doctors took a holistic approach to her treatment: controlling her muscle contractions, changing the medication she received for epilepsy and using physiotherapy to leave her room in a wheelchair, so she could get more stimuli
Mueller said the changes were sudden, but gradual. After a while she was able to open her mouth when asked to, then say her son's name, greeting doctors and reciters from the Quran.
"The case is very unusual, but not unique," Mirror Online quoted Mueller than saying. He cited a patient in West Virginia who started speaking again after 20 years.
Mueller said Abdulla's case offers hope for some patients with similar conditions, but there is no guarantee of improvement especially for people who have suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen. .