Entries in Coma (5)


Holiday Miracle as Man Awakes from Monthlong Coma

ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Doctors told Benjamin Pessah’s family he might not live after he was shot in the head. But after waking from an almost month-long coma, Pessah said his first words and took his first steps just in time for Thanksgiving.

Pessah, of Burlingame, Calif., was walking home from a Halloween party in San Francisco Oct. 28 with two friends and his girlfriend when a stranger came up and touched his girlfriend inappropriately. Pessah, 21, stepped in to protect her when the man pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.

“It was pretty bizarre and unnecessary,” Pessah’s older brother, Nick Pessah, told “He [the stranger] attempted to shoot the group of four of them. He missed everybody but the last bullet hit my brother in the head.”

When doctors first examined Pessah’s injuries, they told his family he wasn’t going to make it. At one point, doctors said he only had a 25 percent chance of living.

“They weren’t going to operate because he was too severely injured,” Nick Pessah said. “Then they said they would attempt it but normally they wouldn’t. They only did because he is young and has a chance at surviving. They weren’t sure if he was going to make it or not.”


Pessah was in a medically induced coma for almost a month. But just a few days before Thanksgiving, his breathing tube was taken out and he said his first words. In a faint whisper, he said, “Hi Mom.”

“My mom was the only one who saw him speak and it brought her to tears,” Nick Pessah said.

On Thanksgiving Day, Pessah took his first steps with his parents and three brothers in his hospital room at the University of California San Francisco to cheer him on.

“I was the first one to watch him walk,” Nick Pessah said. “I was speechless. I didn’t really know what to say, it was very unexpected.”

Although he doesn’t remember the shooting, which his brother believes is a good thing, Pessah does remember everything else including his computer passwords and address.

“It’s a miracle. I couldn’t be more ecstatic about his recovery,” Nick Pessah said. “It couldn’t have happened at a better time. I have more than enough to be thankful for.”

Pessah is a part-time student and entrepreneur. He likes going to the gym and hopes he’ll be able to again when he fully recovers. One thing he has been able to do in his remarkable recovery is tell his family that he loves them, which they thought they might never hear again.

“Right now I couldn’t be more happy,” Nick Pessah said. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been crying, I’ve been happy. He’s beaten all of his odds so I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Skier Sarah Burke in Critical Condition After Torn Artery Repair

JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke was in critical condition Thursday after undergoing a successful operation to repair a torn vertebral artery that had caused bleeding to her brain.

Burke, 29, sustained "serious injuries" after an accident Tuesday in which she crashed on a half-pipe ramp in Park City, Utah.

"With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making definitive pronouncements about Sarah's prognosis for recovery," Dr. William Couldwell, the neurosurgeon at the University of Utah who performed Burke's surgery, said in a press release from Burke's publicist.  "Our Neuro Critical Care team will be monitoring her condition and response continuously over the coming hours and days."

Burke, who is not only one of the best female skiers in the world but a red carpet regular and fashion plate who was once named one of FHM's 100 sexiest women alive, hit her head after a faulty landing while on a training run in the Eagle Superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort.

During the accident, Burke injured a vertebral artery, a set of major arteries in the neck which supply blood to the brain, and resulted in an intracranial hemorrhage, according to a release from her publicist.

"She remains in critical care, intubated and under sedation to allow her brain and body to heal," her publicist told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Freestyle Skiing Champion Sarah Burke in a Coma

JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images(PARK CITY, Utah) -- Canadian Olympic hopeful Sarah Burke, the winningest woman in the world of freestyle skiing, is in a medically induced coma after crashing on a half-pipe course training ramp in Park City, Utah, on Tuesday.

"What I've heard, relatively directly, is that she landed a trick down in the bottom end of the pipe, and kind of bounced, from her feet to her head," Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian freestyle team, told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "It wasn't anything that looked like a catastrophic fall, so I'm a bit mystified."

Burke, who is not only one of the best female skiers in the world but a red carpet regular and fashion plate who was once named one of FHM's 100 sexiest women alive, was admitted and treated at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, a spokeswoman for the hospital had confirmed.

Freestyle skiing is something of a daredevil sport -- a sort of trick skiing that uses the half-pipe, which is normally used by snowboarders.  In recent days, Burke has been training for the upcoming X-Games in Aspen, Colo., in which she has already won the gold four times.

Burke's accident occurred on the same course where snowboarder and Olympic medalist Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2009. Pearce ultimately went through two years of intensive therapy to relearn how to walk, talk and he finally took his first ride on a snowboard in December.

Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield -- also a free skier -- appealed to the public on Twitter late Tuesday, asking for help arranging travel for him and Burke's mother to get to Salt Lake City.  According to Burke's publicist, the family is now with Burke at the hospital.

The family requested privacy to focus on Burke's recovery.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Warren Jeffs Has History of Self-Inflicting Harm in Jail

TRENT NELSON/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Warren Jeffs' condition at a Texas prison hospital has improved from critical to serious, but that might not stop the polygamist sect leader from inflicting further illness and injury on himself in the future, according to one Jeffs expert.

"I don't think Warren wants to be alive," said Sam Brower, author of the Jeffs biography Prophet's Prey.  "He's going to continue to be a problem for Texas authorities."

Jeffs, 55, was hospitalized Sunday for illness at least partly related to his refusal to eat and drink, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said Monday.  Jeffs told guards he had stopped eating since his conviction of sexual assault of minors earlier this month, she said.

Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was sentenced to life in prison for the assaults on two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he claimed were his spiritual wives.

Lyons disputed earlier reports that Jeffs was in a coma, but confirmed that he had been sedated.  Jeffs was transferred from a public hospital, where he was taken when he was in critical condition, to a prison medical center Tuesday.

The sect leader has caused harm to himself while incarcerated before, including fasting, banging his head against a wall, trying to hang himself with his pajamas, and kneeling for such long periods of time that he developed hernias on his knees.

While serving time in the Washington County jail, he tried to hang himself and threw himself against cell walls headfirst.  He was also hospitalized for dehydration and depression, according to court documents.

In 2009, he was temporarily force-fed while in an Arizona jail.  Officials put a feeding tube into his nose and would strap him to his bed so that he could not kneel any longer, according to Brower.  Blood from where the feeding tube was removed was visible in photos from when Jeffs was moved from Arizona to Utah, Brower said.

"He's setting himself up to be a martyr.  He doesn't want his followers to know he's trying to kill himself, so if he calls it fasting, his followers can say he was on a fast and God took him," Brower said.

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said that Jeffs would remain at the prison hospital until he could return to Texas state prison in Palestine.  He is scheduled to go on trial again in October for charges of bigamy, which could carry a 99 year sentence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman Beaten Into a Coma in Parking Lot Rage

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City man faces felony assault charges after he punched an 100-pound woman who was standing in a parking lot space he wanted. Lana Rosas, 25, was saving the space for her boyfriend. Now she's in a coma.

"Nobody would think anything would happen that would go this far," said Oscar Fuller, the alleged attacker, to reporters.

Fuller said the evidence would prove he acted in self-defense.

"She hit first...and just like we know there are cameras everywhere inside New York City," said Fuller.

Rosas is still in the hospital. Doctors have removed part of her skull to reduce the brain swelling.

"I am very, very sorry for the situation she is going through right now, and I am hoping for a speedy recovery," said Fuller.

Fuller left the scene before paramedics arrived but said he didn't realize Rosas was so badly hurt when he left the scene.

Fuller is free on $100,000 bail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio