By Phil Stewart
ROME (Reuters) – An Italian man who spent two years supposedly unconscious in a deep coma, written off by doctors as nearly-dead, awoke saying he heard and understood everything happening around him during the long ordeal, his family said.
Salvatore Crisafulli, a father of four, is describing his case as a "miracle" which proves that lost causes are anything but hopeless and his recovery appeared to strengthen the hand of Italians opposed to end-of-life solutions.
His brother even called Crisafulli "an Italian Terri Schiavo case" with reference to the brain-damaged Florida woman who died in March after her feeding tube was removed.
"The doctors said that I wasn’t conscious, but I understood everything and I cried in desperation," Crisafulli was quoted as saying in Italian media on Wednesday.
The comments were relayed through his brother in Sicily as Crisafulli, 38, slowly started recovering. He came out of a coma three months ago but only began speaking recently. His first word was "Mamma", his mother told the press.
News of his recovery hit Italy at about the same time as a national bioethics committee defended obligatory care for unconscious patients — even those who opposed extraordinary medical measures to keep them alive.