Five miraculous recoveries where patients beat the odds

by nerdinsider

The human body is an amazing thing - often confounding the expectations of medical science. Here are five true life cases where people have come back from the brink

Can the dead come back to life? The answer is no. At least most of the time it is. There have been cases where people have been on the edge of oblivion, facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, but where they have gone on to make recoveries.

The phrase ‘life is a lottery’ is used a lot when describing our mortality. Sometimes the worst happens for no reason at all, leaving loved ones angry and confused. However, every now and then these clouds have silver linings, and even the most critically ill patients can beat the odds and defy nature itself.

Man awakes from 19-year coma

In 1988 Jan Grzebski was hit by a train while working on a railway in Poland. Doctors subsequently found cancer in his brain and believed he would only survive a few weeks, but instead Grzebski fell into a coma that lasted 19 years. Despite calls to switch off his life support, he awoke in 2007 to a very different Poland, but very much alive and able to talk.

Footballer dies for over an hour

In March, Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for the Bolton Wanderers, suffered a cardiac arrest during a match. He was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital, where he received over a dozen shocks from a defibrillator in an unsuccessful attempt to kick-start his heart. His heart stopped beating for a total of 78 minutes, which left him clinically dead for more than an hour. Not only did he survive, but Muamba has since made a remarkable recovery and the outlook for a return to football is optimistic.

[via caughtoffside]

Girl survives flesh-eating attack

In May this year Aimee Copeland, a US psychology student, became infected with necrotising fasciitis, more commonly known as the ‘flesh eating virus’ from a gash in her leg. The virus attacked her lungs and brain, and while paramedics had to amputate her leg, Aimee managed to stabilise herself from a ‘slim to none’ chance of survival. Her recovery is on-going, but as there is no irreversible brain damage doctors are confident that she will recover.

Teenager declared dead four times makes a full recovery

Steven Thorpe was involved in a horrific car accident that left him in a deep coma. Tests showed no brain activity and he was declared dead by four different doctors. Unwilling to switch off his life support system, Thorpe’s parents consulted a fifth doctor, who detected very faint brain activity. This was enough to convince them that there was still a chance, and within five weeks Steven was able to leave hospital. He has since made a full recovery.

Paralyzed ballet dancer back on the stage

In December 2011 Jack Widdowson, a ballet dancer at the London Contemporary Dance School, was attacked while visiting his brother. The attack left him with a serious spinal injury that lost him the use of his limbs and made doctors fear that he’d never be able to walk again. Not letting that get the better of him, Jack persevered and is now set to go back on the stage after only eight months of rehabilitation.

These stories go to show that, no matter how bleak the odds may look, people can bounce back in ways that are sometimes remarkable.

This article was written free of charge by Jamie Gibbs while doing research for critical illness cover comparison site Confused. 

Updated: 07/11/2012, nerdinsider
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Rose on 12/26/2013

You are not really dead till your brain is dead - so you can have your heart stopped and still be alive as long as the brain gets glucose and there is a respirator to do your breathing for you and a pump to circulate your blood.

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