Woman Who Lapsed Into a Coma 27 Years Ago Regains Consciousness

By Paula Liu

A woman who lapsed into a coma 27 years ago from a traffic accident finally woke up.

The woman, Munira Abdulla, first woke up in 2018, when her son was in an argument, according to The National. Her son, Omar Webair said his mother must have sensed that he was in danger, and the shock of the potential harm to her son woke her up.

“There was a misunderstanding in the hospital room and she sensed I was at risk, which caused her a shock,” he told the news outlet. “She was making strange sounds and I kept calling the doctors to examine her. They said everything was normal.”

After three days, Webair told the news outlet that he heard someone calling his name—his mother.

“It was her, She was calling my name. I was flying with joy,” he said. “For years I have dreamed of this moment, and my name was the first word she said.”

His mother became more lively and responsive as time passed, and she was able to tell doctors as well as her son the kind of sensations she felt, such as pain. Webair said that as time passed, he was able to hold conversations with her, provided that she was interested in the topic.

Webair’s mother continued to receive treatment from the hospital in Abu Dhabi, and through these treatments, the hospital stated that she was “able to communicate in a very reasonable manner, especially in familiar situations.”

The Accident

It was 1991 in the United Arab Emirates, and Abdulla, who was 32 at the time, was on her way home after picking up her son from school when the car they were in collided with a bus. The crash left her with a serious brain injury, but her son, Webair, escaped with only a bruise to his head, according to multiple reports.

“I was 4 when the accident happened,” Webair said, “and we used to live in Al Ain.”

According to The National, his minor injuries enabled him to escape relatively unhurt but they had to wait a long time before his mother could receive any medical attention help, as the technology wasn’t so advanced back in 1991.

“There were no mobile phones and we could not call an ambulance,” Webair said. “She was left like that for hours.”

After the authorities had been notified, Abdulla was finally transported to the hospital, where she received some medical attention. They were able to transport her from the local hospital to a hospital in London, where doctors were not able to do anything to help the then-32-year-old woman.

She was completely unresponsive when she was transported to the hospital and had very limited awareness of what was around her. According to the news outlet, the doctors diagnosed her with a minimally conscious state, and she was then transported to a hospital in Al Ain, where she would reside for the next few years. She was kept alive by tube-feeding and underwent physiotherapy in order to keep her muscles functioning in case she woke up.

A picture of a person getting a ct scan.
A picture of a person getting a CT scan. (Bokskapet/Pixabay)

She was completely unresponsive, with next to no awareness of her surroundings. Doctors diagnosed a minimally conscious state. She was moved to a hospital in Al Ain, where she would remain for the next few years. Tube-fed, she underwent physiotherapy to prevent her muscles from deteriorating.

Doctors believed that his mother would never wake up from the coma, but Webair thought differently. He stressed that he always believed that she would wake up—he said, “I never gave up on her because I always had a feeling that one day she will wake up.”

He visited his mother every day, where he would walk miles just to see her. When he got there, he would sit with her for hours until it was time for him to leave. He told the news outlet that while he visited her, he could tell whether or not she was in pain just by her expressions.

“To me she was like gold,” he said, “The more time passed by, the more valuable she became.”

Although visiting his comatose mother kept him from holding on to a job for the long term, he said no matter what, he’d always find time to be by her side.

“I never regretted it,” he told the news outlet. “I believe that, because of my support for her, God saved me from bigger trouble.”

It was later on that the Crown Prince heard about Webair’s story, and offered the family a grant to relocate Webair’s comatose mother to a comprehensive multidisciplinary program in Germany. Webair was extremely grateful to the court for their generosities.

“We did not even ask for the grant. I am grateful to Sheikh Mohamed [bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi] for that. Our leaders are always supportive in such situations and we are thankful for it,” Webair said.

It was at this hospital that the misunderstanding happened that caused Webair’s mother to stir and wake up from her 27-year coma.

Webair said he shared this story with people in order to keep people from giving up hope on their loved ones—don’t consider them dead when they’re in such a state, referring to his mother’s comatose state.

“All those years, the doctors told me she was a hopeless case and that there was no point of the treatment I was seeking for her, but whenever in doubt I put myself in her place and did whatever I could to improve her condition,” Webair said.