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Fiancee's voice over phone from 7,000 miles away triggers first signs of life in coma patient

London, June 8 : In an incredible incident at the Royal Derby Hospital in Britain, a patient, lying in coma, unconscious and unresponsive, for the last ten months, suddenly showed signs of life as his
PTI June 08, 2012 9:17 IST
London, June 8 : In an incredible incident at the Royal Derby Hospital in Britain, a patient, lying in coma, unconscious and unresponsive, for the last ten months, suddenly showed signs of life as his fiancee spoke to him over phone from Bali, 7,000 miles away, reports Daily Mail.

Mathew Taylor, an English teacher in Indonesia, met an accident on his motorbike in Bali on July 9 last year.

With a fractured skull, he  had his eye socket reconstructed, using bone taken from his thigh.  Following surgery, he slipped into a coma and has remained in a vegetative state ever since.

Taylor had no medical insurance, so  his family were forced to raise £100,000 for  him to be treated in Bali. His father, Darrell Taylor, contributed £50,000 of his savings, while stepfather Simon Moore remortgaged his home to find the remaining £50,000.

In October, Taylor was transferred back to Britain, and his parents have kept a bedside vigil at Royal Derby Hospital ever since.

The injuries were so severe that his family was told by doctors that he may never wake up.

But then came the phone call that would change everything. From her home in Bali 7,000 miles away, Taylor's fiancee  Handayani Nurul chatted to him – and at the sound of her voice, tears began trickling down his cheek.

It was the first time the  31-year-old coma patient showed any sign of recovery. Now, every time the phone rings, Taylor reaches out his hand.

Says stepfather Simon Moore: ‘He had tears in his eyes as we held the phone to his ear. She asked him something and he said a silent yes. Then tears were coming down his face. It  was brilliant.'

Now,  Taylor's mother Heather calls Nurul, known as Anda, and passes the phone towards her son.

Moore said: ‘As soon as he hears her  voice he lifts his hand for the phone. He listens to her and you can see this change in him.'

Taylor, from Overseal, Derbyshire, met Miss Nurul, 27, after he moved to Indonesia in 2009 to teach English.

The couple planned to get married, but then disaster struck.  Nurul managed to secure a visa so she could join them at his bedside for three months, but after that she was forced to return home to Bali, where she studies Dutch literature at the University of Indonesia.

Since the first phone call three weeks ago, Taylor has slowly started to recover more movement in his body.

‘He's really come on,' said Moore. ‘He is still in a low awareness coma but he moves his  hand left and right when the phone rings.

"We are so pleased he is  recovering. We spend most of our days at hospital and some days are good and others bad but we take what we can get. We are just happy he is responding.'

A coma is state in which a person is unaware of both self and external surroundings and unable to consciously feel, speak, hear, or move.

Doctors monitor consciousness levels by assessing eye opening, verbal responses and voluntary movements.

A higher score on the scale suggests that less brain function has been lost.

The cause of a coma and age of the patient are important in determining whether they will recover.

Some people remember events from when they were in a coma, while others do not. Most memories are likely to relate to the period when they were emerging from the coma.

Some people recall feeling reassured by the presence of a loved one when coming out of a coma.

A coma usually lasts for less than two to four weeks. It is unusual to remain in a coma for months or even years.

Generally, the longer the person has been in a coma, the poorer the outlook.

People do not usually suddenly 'wake up' from a coma, but regain brain function over time. Patients emerging from comas are often agitated and confused and may need to be sedated for their safety.