Woman Begins Talking After 20 Year Silence
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 14, 2005
HUTCHINSON, KANSAS--A Kansas woman who had been in what is described as a "near coma state" for more than 20 years began talking last month.
"Hi, Mom," Sarah Scantlin, 38, said to her mother over a speaker phone last week.
"Sarah, is that you?" Betsy Scantlin asked.
"Yes," said her daughter.
"How are you doing?"
"Do you need anything?" her mother asked her later.
It was the first time Scantlin's mother had heard her daughter's voice since September 22, 1984, when the then 18-year-old college freshman was hit by a drunk driver.
According to the Associated Press, Scantlin started talking last month, but asked staff at the Golden Plains Healthcare Center not to tell her parents until Valentines' Day. She changed her mind earlier last week saying she couldn't wait any longer.
A speech therapist at the facility was working with several patients in January trying to get them to speak when Scantlin said, "OK. OK."
There were times prior to that when she would blink in response to questions, but nobody knew whether she understood the questions.
And while nobody knows why she suddenly began to talk, her doctor said that certain pathways in Scantlin's brain may have regenerated on their own.
During the time since her accident, Scantlin apparently knew some of what was going on around her. For example, when asked if she knew what a CD is, she said it had music on it.
During a gathering of relatives and friends on Saturday, Scantlin was asked if she is happy she can now talk.
"Yeah," she responded.
In the past few years, there have been several incidents of people with severe brain injuries considered to be in comas or "brain dead" who have suddenly recovered or started talking, baffling doctors and giving hope to the families of others who are in similar situations.