• Steven Thorpe awoke from 2-week coma after car crash that killed a man
But Steven Thorpe’s parents refused to give up hope – despite four specialists declaring that the 17-year-old was brain dead.
A neurosurgeon found faint signs of brain activity and two weeks later, Steven woke from his coma. Within seven weeks, he had left hospital.
From his home in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Steven, 21, said: ‘I feel so lucky that my parents wouldn’t take no for an answer.’
The schoolboy was travelling in a Rover with two friends in February 2008 when a stray horse ran into the path of the car in front of them.
He said: ‘The doctors were telling my parents that they wanted to take me off the life support. The words they used to my parents were “You need to start thinking about organ donations”.
‘I think that’s what gave my dad energy. He thought “No way”. They still believed I was there. When they sat around the bed they had the feeling I was there and some words they said to me I reacted to.
‘I think if my dad had agreed with them then I would have been off the life support machine in seconds.’
Accountant Mr Thorpe, 51, contacted private GP Julia Piper, known for her work in traditional and alternative medicines. Moved by their story, she asked a neurosurgeon whom she knew to visit Steven at University Hospital in Coventry.
Incredibly, he concluded that Steven was not brain dead and that there was still a slim chance of recovery.
Doctors agreed to try to bring Steven out of his chemically-induced coma to see if he could survive. Two weeks later, he woke up.
‘Hopefully it can help people see that you should never give up. If you have a gut feeling about something then follow it. My father believed I was alive and he was correct.’
Steven, who has three sisters, has lost the use of his left arm and has undergone extensive reconstructive surgery to his face, including having his nose rebuilt and an artificial eye socket made.
He said the experience was still ‘too painful’ for his parents to talk about, and yesterday Mr Thorpe told the Daily Mail that he would rather ‘keep it in the past’.
Dr Piper, who has a practice in Leicester, said: ‘As a parent, I wanted to help even if there was only the smallest of chances. I spoke to the intensive care unit and told them not to switch Steven’s machine off because we were bringing in our own specialist.
‘I am astonished with the outcome but one worries that this may happen more often than we know.’
‘It is extremely rare that a patient with such extensive trauma to the brain should survive. We were delighted to see Steven recover.’