Woman's Coma-Like Condition Intrigues World

By: Lauri Martin Email
By: Lauri Martin Email

It's a story making headlines around the nation and even the world. Christa Lilly emerges from a minimally conscious state after 6 years only to slip back in. One local expert says Christa's story is making a difference. Her awakening is bringing more attention to the issue since March is actually brain injury awareness month.

The 49-year-old woke up on Sunday out of her minimally conscious vegetative state for almost 4 days. "It makes me so happy," Christa told 11 News. By Wednesday, she had slipped away again. "It's sad and happy at the same time. Happy because she was able to see family and sad because she went back into it again." Gary Morse is the president of the Colorado Brain Injury Association. While he says Christa's periodic awakenings are rare, he says her story alone is raising awareness about brain injuries. Morse says just in Colorado, 63 people go to the hospital everyday for a brain injury, everything from concussions to comas. 900 die every year. "I believe 21% of brain injuries are caused by falls followed by auto accidents, which is 20%. People fall a lot off of ladders, down the stairs, off of curbs.”

As for Christa, it was a heart attack, followed by a stroke that took her away for 6 years. When will she awaken next? Her family and the world is now waiting and hoping.

Christa's neurologist, Dr. Bjork tells us he has been inundated with calls from around the world. He even got an email from a man in Belgium, who says his mother has periodic awakenings like Christa had. The neurologist hopes Christa's story will encourage more research about her condition.

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