Teen awakens from coma after 10 months with no awareness of Covid – after testing positive twice

By IOL Reporter 27m ago

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Cape Town – For people worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic is akin to a nightmare – hoping to wake up one day and forget that it ever happened.

Due to a traumatic brain injury sustained on March 1 last year, the 19-year-old Joseph Flavill woke up from a coma after 10 months without having any knowledge of the devastation the virus has caused worldwide, StaffordshireLive reported.

Joseph is also not aware that he has tested positive for Covid-19 twice – the second time after he had been moved to a centre which provides neurological, physical and cognitive rehabilitation.

He got hit by a car while crossing the road in his hometown of Staffordshire three weeks before the UK went into lockdown. His family is now able to communicate with him through FaceTime, but discussing the Covid-19 pandemic is not a priority for them at the moment.

Sally Flavill Smith, Joseph’s aunt, said: “We don’t know how much he understands as his accident was before the first lockdown. How do you explain the pandemic to someone who has been in a coma?”

She also told the Guardian: “We don’t really have the time to go into the pandemic hugely — it just doesn’t feel real does it? When he can actually have the face-to-face contact, that will be the opportunity to actually try to explain to him what has happened.

“A brain injury is very much the unknown, so we haven’t been given an idea of what to expect really.”

His mother was allowed to spend time with him on his 19th birthday, but she had to stay socially distanced.

In May last year, Joseph was due to attend Buckingham Palace to receive his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. His life was full of sport – hockey, cricket, surfing and skiing – and he had a passion for music while completing his final year of his A-levels.

Now, the teenager is making progress after opening his eyes. In the last few weeks, he has started moving limbs when he is told to do so. He is engaging with family and friends through blinking and smiling, it was reported on Josephsjourney.

Flavill-Smith said: “At first his eyes were open but he wasn’t responding to anything, but over the last few weeks he’s taken amazing steps.

“He’s really trying to engage and blinks and smiles. He’s raising his limbs on instruction. He’s making really good progress. We’ve got to try to remain positive.’’

On GoFundMe, she said: ’’Part of the support we want to give Joe and Sharon (his parents) is to raise funds for the path ahead. It’s unclear what the long-term impact on Joseph will be, but we do know that the journey will be long and costly.’’