Her son recounts his joy when the first word she spoke was his name.
Abdulla was injured in an automobile accident in her native United Arab Emirates in 1991. She sustained a serious brain injury and spent the next 27 years in a coma.
But last June, she woke up.
Dr. Friedemann Müller, head physician at the Schoen Clinic in Bad Aibling, Germany, where Abdulla was being treated, told NBC News that Abdulla gained consciousness after months of therapy.
“It’s not like waking up in the morning,” Müller said. “It was a process over weeks as reactions and vocalizations increased and improved.”
The accident occurred when Abdulla, then 32, was driving her four-year-old son, Omar Webair, home from school. Webair recounted how he heard his mother making sounds last year, Müller said, but it took a while to make out words.
“Soon, Abdulla clearly pronounced her son’s name, greeted doctors in Arabic, and started to cite Quran verses,” NBC said.
“When we realized that she was talking with us, we were ecstatic,” Müeller said. According to NBC News:
The clinic regularly treats patients who have been in a coma for weeks or months who then regain consciousness—but the sheer length of time Abdulla had been in a coma made this an extremely rare case.
“None us had ever experienced that someone wakes again after 27 years,” Müeller said.
Webair told The Emerati-based newspaper The National: “She was making strange sounds and I kept calling the doctors to examine her. They said everything was normal.
“Then, three days later, I woke up to the sound of someone calling my name. It was her. She was calling my name. I was flying with joy. For years I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said.”
Webair has said he shared his mother’s story to give others hope.