A teenager emerging from a 10-month coma is unaware of the coronavirus pandemic despite having contracted the disease twice.
19-year-old Joseph Flavill was struck by a car while walking in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, on March 1 last year, three weeks before Britain’s first national lockdown began.
He has spent months in a coma after suffering a traumatic brain injury, but he is slowly beginning to recover and has begun to respond.
His aunt, Sally Flavill Smith, told The Guardian: “He will not know anything about the pandemic since he has been sleeping for 10 months. His consciousness is starting to improve now, but we don’t know what he knows.
“I just don’t know where to start. A year ago, if someone had told me what was going to happen in the last year, I don’t think I would have believed it. I have no idea how Joseph will come to understand what we’ve all been through. “
She said the family has tried to explain via video call that they cannot be with him in person due to coronavirus restrictions, but they have not tried to explain the scale of the pandemic.
“When you are awake in your room, you will have no idea why you are there. We talk about it on the phone and try to let him know that we really want to be there holding his hands, but we just can’t do it. [because of Covid].
“But we try to keep it as simple as possible, we really don’t have the time to go into the pandemic hugely, it just doesn’t feel real, does it? When I can really have face-to-face contact, it will be the opportunity to try to explain what happened.
The teenager, who was treated at Leicester General Hospital and is now transferred to the Adderley Green Care Center in Stoke-on-Trent to continue his recovery, began to move his limbs when asked and interacts with family and friends by blinking and smiling.
Flavill Smith said the teen can now follow commands like touching his left and right ear when asked to do so, moving both legs and answering yes and no by blinking, while his first smiles have brought the family to tears. .
“We still have a long way to go, but the steps he’s taken in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” said Flavill Smith.
He has caught Covid twice during his recovery from the accident, but recovered both times.
Flavill’s mother, Sharon, was able to visit her son when he turned 19 in December, but had to remain socially estranged and wear full PPE at all times. “At the time, Joseph wasn’t as conscious as he is now, and I think she felt incredibly sad because she wasn’t sure that Joseph could even see who she was. I’d been waiting months to go see him. “
Before the accident, Flavill, from Tutbury, Staffordshire, was an active and sporty teenager and was due to receive his Duke of Edinburgh gold award in May.
Through its José’s trip campaign, the family has raised over £ 30,000 to support the teenager in his long-term recovery.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism