A mother-of-four left on the brink of death after a devastating stroke was woken from a coma by her husband playing their favourite wedding songs.
Maria Neal, 48, suddenly collapsed on her husband Steve’s 46th birthday in March and suffered a stroke on the way to hospital.
She was put on a life-support machine and doctors told her family to prepare for the worst.
Medics sent scans of her brain to experts at King’s College Hospital and warned she would die if she could not be transferred.
The London hospital agreed to admit Maria and she was airlifted for last-ditch brain surgery and then put in an induced coma after the two-hour op.
Doctors weaned off her sedatives over five days but after another two days she was still unconscious and showing little signs of life.
Steve, daughter Kyrstie, 20, and their three sons Kurtis, 18, Keiran, 16 and Kameron, 14, spent hours at her bedside vainly trying to coax her out of her coma.
On the seventh day devoted Steve then decided to play their two favourite songs, Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers and Simply Red’s If You Don’t Know Me By Now, which they danced to at their wedding 21 years ago.
To his delight within an hour of Maria showed the first sign of response, moving her arm and gently nodding.
Over the next two days she began to respond more and opened her eyes on the eighth day of her coma.
After that she was able to hold a pen and communicate by writing odd words, such as ‘H2O’ when she wanteda glass of water. Two weeks after the operation Maria started speaking again with her family.
Daughter Kyrstie, 20, said: ‘We spent hours talking to her and trying to find anything that we thought would stimulate a response.
‘Dad downloaded their wedding songs onto his phone and played them to mum with tears rolling from his face onto hers.
‘This broke my heart but she started to move her right arm and a couple of days after this she started nodding.’
Despite Maria’s progress doctors have warned her family that she will never fully recover from the crippling stroke.
Steve, a cabbie, said: ‘I wanted to try and get some response. If anything was going to wake her up then it would be that.
‘After about an hour of playing the song she showed signs of movement. I was absolutely delighted, you’re on cloud nine.
‘The doctors then bring you back down to earth when they say that’s as good as it’s going to get.
‘It is life-changing for her and it is life-changing for me. To what degree? I don’t know that at the moment.
‘I can’t really put into words how I feel. She is my life partner, we have had a very close relationship and we have always been together.’
Source: Daily Mail, UK