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10 Amazing Stories Of People Who Woke Up From Comas

People survive and recover from comas fairly often, but the odds of recovery depend on a person’s illness or injuries and the length of time they are incapacitated. The longer the coma, the lower the odds of recovery. The ten (actually twelve) people in this list are all very different: their comas lasted from a few days to decades long, and their recoveries varied greatly. Some recovered very gradually. One was in a locked-in state for years while no one knew. And three presented strange language deficiencies when they came to. One was Ben McMahon.  

Growing up in Australia, Ben McMahon learned French and Mandarin, but was never fluent in them. In 2012, he was in a car accident which left him comatose for a week. Doctors said he would be lucky if he survived. He beat the odds and woke up but, oddly, he only spoke Mandarin and couldn’t speak English. He could also write in Mandarin.

Eventually, Ben regained the ability to speak English, but didn’t lose the ability to speak Mandarin. As of September 2014, Ben is living in Shanghai where he attends school, but also gives walking tours of the city. In fact, his Mandarin is so good it impresses native speakers, and he is the host of a TV show in Shanghai.

Some of the stories of coma patients contain disturbing circumstances of violence, injury, and abuse. Read them all at ListVerse. -via mental_floss


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The book is great, going much more in depth than a movie could. I've read several of Oliver Sacks' books and enjoyed them. They aren't, um, uplifting, but they are thought-provoking. I used a screenshot from the movie because its not invading a real patient's privacy.
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The picture included above is from the movie Awakenings. The is based on the book by the same title, written by Oliver Sacks. Sacks is a neurologist that administered the drug L-Dopa to patients left catatonic after having contracted encephalitis during the epidemic of 1917–28. The results were an amazing and very sad story. I have never read the book (tho I would like to), but the movie is incredible (tho I don't know how accurate the movie was).
I had hoped that the list would include information about the event, but was disappointed to see there wasn't any; not surprising considering that catatonia and comas are two different things. For what it is worth, I highly recommend looking more into the history I touched on above, and DEFINITELY see the movie! It is really good.
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