Tears of a teacher in a coma as his fiancee phones him from Bali: After ten months, her voice triggers the first signs of life
Mathew Taylor, 31, has been unconscious since horrific motorbike crashTears were first signs of life following accident in Bali last JulyFamily had to raise 100,000 to have him treated there then flown home
Fiancee Anda Nurul, 27, was forced to leave him in British hospital after her visa ran out
Doctors had told his family he might never wake up
For ten months, he had been lying in a hospital bed, unconscious and unresponsive.
The injuries Mathew Taylor had suffered in a motorbike crash were so severe that his devastated family were warned he may never wake up.
But then came the phone call that would change everything. From her home in Bali 7,000 miles away, Mr Taylor’s fiancee Handayani Nurul chatted to him – and at the sound of her voice, tears began trickling down his cheek.
Power of love: The couple were planning their wedding before tragedy struck
True love: Mathew Taylor showed the first signs of life since his accident when his Balinese fiancee Anda Nurul spoke to him down the phone
Heady days: The couple fell in love and got engaged after Mr Taylor moved to Indonesia to teach English
It was the first time the 31-year-old
had shown any sign of recovery since fracturing his skull in the
horrific accident on the Indonesian island.
Now, every time the phone rings, Mr Taylor reaches out his hand.
Describing the moment Mr Taylor first
responded to his fiancee’s voice, his stepfather Simon Moore said: ‘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, Mr Taylor’s mother Heather calls Miss Nurul, known as Anda, and passes the phone towards her son.
Mr 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.’ Mr Taylor, from Overseal, Derbyshire, met
Miss Nurul, 27, after he moved to Indonesia in 2009 to teach English.
Mr Taylor, 31, moved to Indonesia 18 months before his horrific motorbike accident
Emotional moment: It was Ms Nurul’s voice that triggered Mr Taylor’s first signs of life as he lay in a hospital bed
Miles apart: Mr Taylor’s family were amazed when he moved his hand and tears streamed down his face as his fiancee spoke to him over the phone from the other side of the world
COMA PATIENTS: WHAT THEY HEAR
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.
The couple planned to get married, but Mr Taylor was knocked down while riding a motorcycle in Bali on July 9 last year.
As well as a fractured skull, he had to have 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.
Mr 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 Mr Moore remortgaged his home to find the remaining 50,000.
In October, Mr Taylor was transferred
back to Britain, and his parents have kept a bedside vigil at Royal
Derby Hospital ever since.
Miss 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, Mr Taylor has slowly started to recover more movement in his body.
‘He’s really come on,’ said Mr 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.’
Miraculous: Doctors feared Mr Taylor would never regain consciousness after the crash in Bali
Overjoyed: Ms Nurul was forced to return to Bali after her visa ran out – but now she has hope that their wedding will finally take place
Yesterday Luke Griggs, spokesman for
brain injury charity Headway, said Mr Taylor could now make a full
recovery. He said: ‘Coma arousal programmes are often used to try to
stimulate patients who are in reduced states of consciousness, such as a
coma or a persistent vegetative state.
‘These carefully planned periods of
stimulation – in the form of sound, touch, smell and taste – are
combined with periods of complete rest in order not to overload the
‘While each individual case is
different, in general terms the longer a person remains in a state of
reduced consciousness, the less likely they are to make a full recovery.
‘We have heard of several examples of
people waking from comas and going on to make good recoveries and live
happy, fulfilled lives.
‘Examples like this demonstrate that coma arousal programmes may well be effective.’