• U.S.

Medicine: Answer

1 minute read

Twelve-year-old Patricia Murphy of Tucson, Ariz., was in an automobile accident on May 14. Her grandmother and grandfather “were killed, her mother was badly hurt, her younger sister slightly injured. Blue-eyed Patricia suffered brain injuries and lapsed into a coma.

People with brain injuries often stay in a state of coma (absolute unconsciousness) for long periods of time. (A Cincinnati hospital has one patient who has been in a coma for more than seven years.) By this week Patricia’s coma had lasted for 43 days.

After extensive X rays, the doctors told Patricia’s father that her brain injuries were so serious she might never get well. But Shoe Salesman Edwin T. Murphy, 44, never lost faith in his daughter’s chances. Twice every day he visited Pima County Hospital, stood beside Patricia’s bed and said gently: “Pat—can you hear me?”

In the 41st day of her coma last week Patricia’s father suddenly heard her whisper one word: “Mama.” Apparently she was answering his repeated question. Then she slipped back into unconsciousness again.

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