Saturday, 11 July 2015

Locked-in stroke survivor helps others have hope

       In 2012, I received a phone call from my nephew Dan. 'Please could I help his great friend Peter to publish a book on his experiences with - and recovery from - Locked-in syndrome?'

      Following a massive brain stem stroke which almost killed him, Peter Coghlan awoke from a coma totally paralysed, unable to move anything except for his eyes.  He was entombed by Locked-in syndrome (LIS), an extremely rare and little understood condition which may affect severe stroke or brain injury sufferers.

       Of course I would help. Who could refuse to share in such a remarkable story….that of a young man breaking free from his own body! Over the next few months of emailing, skyping and editing his writings, I came to know Peter very well – well enough to realise he was a very special person.

       But I didn’t appreciate just HOW special he was until I read the following email in response to a recent heartfelt plea from Peter – that his story be remembered for the benefit of other stroke and locked-in survivors. His refusal to accept that he would never walk or talk again resulted in the fastest known recovery from locked-in syndrome previously recorded, giving hope and inspiration to other survivors who, like Peter, refuse to lie down!

To All General and Neurological Practitioners, Hospitals, Stroke Specialists, Therapists and Stroke Support Groups worldwide:

“Peter Coghlan has done so much to inspire other stroke survivors.  He is a role model for "life after stroke" and must be the one in a million to live to tell the tale.

I have read Jean-Dominique Bauby's book: 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' (but how many have?) and he never recovered his full mobility or lived long enough to jump hurdles and return to the workforce.* 

Peter's book: 'In the Blink of an Eye' is a true account of the devastation to the lives of all stroke survivors.  Our group has been touched by his story and his dedication to assist others on a voluntary basis at hospitals in Perth WA.

Invite him over to speak at your conferences.  Use living images so that others can marvel in the technology that saved his life.”

Sally Allen (Coordinator/Secretary/Founder Member)
The Northern Suburbs Stroke Support Group inc.

*Peter Coghlan is now a qualified health care worker, cycles, competes in marathons and plays the guitar! Not bad for a man few thought would ever walk, talk or do anything other than blink his eyes again!

“In the Blink of an Eye - Reborn” by Peter Coghlan is available from Amazon UK & US

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