Amelia Bannan celebrates her 34th birthday today in the Argentinean hospital where she woke on April 8 after more than five months in a coma, and the guest of honor is Santino, the baby she gave birth to on Christmas Eve but is only just getting to know now.
“We were in the hospital with Norma, my other sister. We were talking to Amelia and she had never replied, until we heard her say ‘yes,’ so I asked her to stick her tongue out, and she did,” explains Amelia’s older brother César Bannan, speaking by phone from Posadas, the capital of the northeastern Argentinean province of Misiones.
The story dates back to November 1 when Amelia, a local police officer in the small town of San Pedro and six months pregnant, was involved in a crash. Colleagues say she had a premonition about traveling by car, but they persuaded her to join them. Halfway to Posadas, the vehicle was hit from behind and span out of control. Amelia suffered a serious head injury and went into a coma. The other occupants of the car were unhurt.
Fortunately, her baby was undamaged and continued to grow while she was in hospital. In the final week of December, Amelia opened her eyes, moved her hands, and although she was unable to talk, contractions began. On December 24, doctors carried out a Cesarean section, bringing Santino into the world. “He was born on Christmas Eve, it was a miracle,” says her brother.
Medics say Amelia is recovering well and should be able to walk within a few months
The baby weighed 1.89 kilograms and was placed in intensive care. “He is growing well, there are no complications. He is a little fighter,” says César Bannan.
But within days of giving birth, Amelia fell back into a coma. “It was so frustrating, every day we would talk to her and show her the baby, but there was never any reply,” he says.
Amelia is now recovering well, say hospital staff. “First she said yes and no, and now she is able to answer questions and follow instructions,” says Roberto Gisin, the physiotherapist overseeing her rehabilitation, adding that Amelia is now able to turn over in bed and move all four limbs. He believes she will be able to walk within a few months.
The medics say it is still too early to know whether Amelia will suffer any long-term effects from her accident. Her brother César hopes Amelia’s story will inspire other families with relatives in coma: “We are hopeful and want to transmit that to anybody in a similar situation. We have seen that miracles are possible and that you should never give up.”
English version by Nick Lyne.