Omar Webair spent decades by his mother’s side after a terrible car accident left her in a coma. Though doctors said her case was hopeless and she would never recover, Webair refused to give up. And after 30 years, the miraculous happened: she woke up from her coma, calling her son’s name.
Webair was four years old and living in the United Arab Emirates when the accident happened. His mother, Marina Abdulla, was 32. Webair had to be picked up from school, so Abdulla’s brother-in-law drove her to go get home. He recounted what happened to the National.
“My mother was sitting with me in the back seat. When she saw the crash coming she hugged me to protect me from the blow,” he said. “There were no mobile phones and we could not call an ambulance. She was left like that for hours.” Webair was able to walk away unharmed, but Abdulla was critically injured. When she was eventually taken to a hospital, her injuries were so severe that she was transferred to a hospital in London, and then back to Al Ain.
Abdulla was said to be in a “minimally conscious” state, able to respond to pain, but otherwise unaware and unresponsive to her surroundings. Yet Webair would walk miles every day to see her, even though it made it difficult for him to keep a job. “To me she was like gold; the more time passed by, the more valuable she became,” he said to the National. “I never regretted it. I believe that, because of my support for her, God saved me from bigger troubles.”
In 2017, the family was given a grant to move Abdulla to a program in Germany, where she underwent surgery to treat her muscles, which had grown weak. “Our primary goal was to grant her fragile consciousness the opportunity to develop and prosper in a healthy body, like a delicate plant that needs good soil to grow,” Dr. Ahmad Ryll, Abdulla’s neurologist, told the National. Yet Webair was still told not to become too hopeful.
“I told the doctors I was expecting her to start talking again and they told me ‘you are running wild with your imagination. We are only doing rehabilitation to fix her quality of life’,” he recalled. But it was when Webair got into an argument by her side that she began to awaken, making strange noises, just as Webair had predicted. It seems her love for her son had not diminished, as she woke up several days later.
“[T]hree days later, I woke up to the sound of someone calling my name,” he said. “It was her. She was calling my name. I was flying with joy. For years I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said.” Now, she’s receiving more treatment in Abu Dhabi, and is able to communicate more and even recite Islamic prayers. She has also been able to leave the hospital to visit a mosque.
Webair wants people to know her story, so they know to never give up. “I shared her story to tell people not to lose hope on their loved ones,” he said. “Don’t consider them dead when they are in such a state. All those years, the doctors told me she was a hopeless case and that there was no point of the treatment I was seeking for her, but whenever in doubt I put myself in her place and did whatever I could to improve her condition.”
New research has found that it’s increasingly likely that people with conditions like Abdulla’s can be treated. In France, for example, researchers were able to restore brain function in a man who had been living in a vegetative state. It’s also been found that up to 20 percent of people in a vegetative state are actually aware of what is going on around them. Yet it’s likewise becoming more and more common for severely disabled patients, like Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, to be removed from life support.
As Webair’s devotion to his mother nobly shows, people have intrinsic value and worth, even if they are disabled or in a coma. They do not deserve to be put to death because someone decides their quality of life isn’t high enough or deems them a burden.
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