A former soldier who asked his own mother to help him kill after being left paralyzed, says he has fully recovered.
Peter Coghlan, 42, hit his head in 2011, which caused a stroke. It left him completely motionless.
He was diagnosed with lock-in syndrome, making patients unable to move or communicate despite being aware of their environment.
While lying in a hospital bed, Mr. Coghlan realized that he could remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
He blinked the letters of the alphabet away to his distraught mother, Anne Coughlan, 63: & # 39; Mom, I want to die. Kill me, please. & # 39;
But slowly, in the course of the following weeks, Mr. Coghlan regained small movements with sheer determination to recover.
After six months he became the first victim of the lock-in syndrome that left the hospital ward where he was – and now lives a normal life.
Former soldier Peter Coghlan asked his own mother to help him kill after he was left completely paralyzed because of the locked syndrome. He is pictured when he was in the army from 18-21
Mr. Coghlan, from Marple, Manchester, feared that he would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life after a blow to the head that led to a stroke in Australia, 2011
Mr Coghlan blinked out the letters of the alphabet to his distraught mother, Anne, 63 (see left): & # 39; Mama, I want to die. Kill me, please. & # 39; Pictured with sister, Vicky Coghlan, 37
Mr Coghlan, from Manchester, joined the army at the age of 18, but on his 21st birthday he was diagnosed with lung cancer and released from the armed forces.
After two years of treatment, he decided to pack his bags and emigrate to Australia for a new life with his mother and sister.
They moved to Perth when Mr. Coghlan was 23 and he started a career as a bricklayer.
In 2011 he worked on a tunnel under a road when he got up and hit his head on a concrete curb.
The blow to the head caused a brain haemorrhage, also known as a hemorrhagic stroke.
His sister Vicky, 37, took him to A&E at the Sir Charles Gairdner hospital in Perth and later he was diagnosed with lock-in syndrome.
The rare brain disorder causes complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except those that control eye movements.
It can be caused by stroke damage to the brain stem and it is believed to affect about one percent of people with a stroke, as well as trauma, tumors or infections.
Doctors told Mr. Coghlan's mother that it was unlikely that he would ever recover and probably never walk or talk again.
For most patients, the prognosis is very poor, causing their conscious mind to be caught & # 39; is in their own body.
According to Mr. Coghlan, doctors would like to study why he has recovered so well
Doctors told his Mr. Coghlan's mother that he would probably never recover and probably never walk or talk again. But Mrs. Coghlan (photo) told her son to keep it up
WHAT IS LOCKED SYNDROME?
Locked-in syndrome is a rare brain disorder that causes complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except those that control eye movements.
Sufferers are aware, but cannot talk or move. Their cognitive function is usually influenced.
Locked-in syndrome is caused by damage to the brainstem that contains nerves that transfer information to other parts of the body.
Such damage usually occurs due to a lack of blood flow or bleeding after a trauma.
Patients cannot chew, swallow, speak or move apart from their eyes, but they can see and hear.
Most patients are bedridden and depend on their caregivers.
Treatment is aimed at relieving the underlying condition, such as bleeding, if possible.
Patients may need tubes to help them breathe.
Small tubes are also inserted into their stomachs for food and drink.
Sufferers can be taught to communicate through their eyes.
After spending three weeks in the hospital, consumed by misery and pain, Mr. Coghlan gave his mother the most difficult ultimatum of all.
He said: & # 39; I wrote on my letterboard: & # 39; Mommy, I want to die. Please kill me & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I didn't want to roll around in my own stools, with nurses cleaning me up and people injecting me. & # 39;
Mr. Coghlan's mother begged her son not to give up.
He said: & # 39; She said: & # 39; If you still want to die in three months, I will help you somehow. But wait a minute, your & # 39;. & # 39; are doing very well.
After spending four weeks helplessly in the hospital, only able to communicate by blinking his eyes, Mr. Coghlan built up the power to move his thumb half a millimeter to his index finger.
The small movement was the beginning of the long journey to recovery that Mr Coghlan had initially thought impossible.
He said: & # 39; Then I became obsessed. I would spend the whole day moving my thumb and forefinger to slowly bring them closer together. & # 39;
Coghlan had the condition for three months and claims to have been one of the fastest recoveries ever.
Mr. Coghlan built up his strength in a debilitating six months. As soon as he touched his thumb and finger, he did not stop pushing himself.
More than six months in the hospital, Mr. Coghlan slowly built up strength until he could be fired, the first with a locked syndrome that ran out of the ward. Now he is fully recovered. Pictured, with his sister, Vicky Coghlan
He started moving his hands, arms and legs while lying on his back. Another milestone was when he managed to kick a pillow off his bed.
Eventually the former soldier taught himself to walk again and would practice for hours to walk up and down in his ward and pull up the side of his bed.
The medical miracle said he was the first patient with a locked syndrome to leave Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital without being in a wheelchair.
The two years after his resignation were difficult because Mr. Coghlan tried to get his life back together between different specialist treatments.
He could not work and lost many friends and even divorced the woman he married when he left the hospital.
In 2014, he decided to return to the UK and settled in his hometown after his recovery with his recovery.
Since his return, he has not needed an appointment with a healthcare provider such as a neurologist or physical therapist.
According to Mr. Coghlan, doctors would like to study why he recovered so quickly.
Coghlan now works as a handicapped caregiver and has written a book – In the Blink of an Eye: Reborn – about his experiences.
Speaking of locked syndrome, he said he now supports patients' right to end their own lives.
He said: & # 39; I want people to persist. With strokes and brain injury, the brain can heal with struggle.
& # 39; But I do support the right to euthanasia. I believe in the right to choose to die if there is no sign of improvement in your condition. & # 39;
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