A teenager who was put into a coma early last year recently woke up with no knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite having the virus twice while hospitalized, his family says.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sally Flavill Smith said her 19-year-old nephew Joseph Flavill was hit by a car while walking in Staffordshire, England, on March 1, 2020, three weeks before the country’s first COVID-19 lockdown.
He experienced a traumatic brain injury in the incident, and spent 10 months in coma.
In a Facebook page called Joseph’s Journey, launched by Flavill’s family, Flavill’s relatives said he has reached a “minimally conscious state.” He’s responding to simple commands and has started blinking, smiling, and moving his limbs.
“His awareness is starting to improve now but we just don’t know what he knows,” Flavill Smith told The Guardian. “I just don’t know where to start with it. A year ago if someone had told me what was going to happen over the last year, I don’t think I would have believed it. I’ve got no idea how Joseph’s going to come to understand what we’ve all been through.”
Flavill tested positive for COVID-19 twice while recovering from the brain injury, and due to coronavirus restrictions, only his mother was able to visit the hospital he was being treated at and the care center he was recently transferred to, Staffordshire Live reported.
Flavill-Smith told The Guardian her family has seen Flavill on FaceTime and has told him bits and pieces of what’s going on with COVID-19, but they haven’t explained the gravity of the situation.
“We do talk about it on the phone, and we try to make him aware that we really want to be there holding his hands, but we’re just unable to do it [because of COVID-19],” Flavill Smith told The Guardian. “But we try to keep it as simple as possible; 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.”
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