Colorado woman wakes from coma for a while

March 8, 2007 at 9:34 AM

COLORADO SPRINGS, March 8 (UPI) -- A Colorado woman who has been in a persistent vegetative state since 2000 woke up, spoke to family and TV crews and then went back to her unresponsive state.

"It's just got me dumbfounded," neurologist Dr. Randall Bjork told the Colorado Springs Gazette of the three days Christa Lilly of Colorado Springs spent eating and chatting with her four children and grandchildren.

"I'm just not able to explain this on the basis of what we know about persistent vegetative states."

Lilly, 49, had a heart attack and a stroke in 2000 which damaged her brain and has been largely in a persistent vegetative state ever since. Her mother, Minnie Smith, said this is the fifth time her daughter has woken up, although in the past she rarely talked, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Bjork said he hadn't believe reports that Lilly was alert in the past.

"I've never seen this quality of awakening, and if this is true, it's going to change how we look at the persistent vegetative state," he told the newspaper.

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