Tag Archives: minimally conscious state

Twilight zone

telegraphFacebookONE day in September 2005 Sarah Tomkins went to the top of the stairs to wave her daughter Caitlin off to the village school. Still in her pyjamas because she was feeling under the weather, she suddenly felt lightheaded. Before six-year-old Caitlin knew what was happening, her mother was lying at the bottom of the wooden staircase with blood on her face. Tomkins’s fall that day resulted in a massive haemorrhage that destroyed the front left-hand side of her brain. If it hadn’t been for quick-thinking Caitlin, who immediately phoned her grandmother, Tomkins would have died. As it was she spent three weeks in a coma before she opened her eyes. For the next couple of months doctors could elicit no response from her and diagnosed her as being in a vegetative state (VS). Then they began to see fleeting signs that she was aware of her surroundings. The diagnosis changed to minimally conscious state (MCS), and Tomkins was moved to a rehabilitation centre at Leamington Spa, where she came under the care of the neurological rehabilitation consultant Derar Badwan…

This article first appeared in the Telegraph Magazine on 22 March 2014. To continue reading click here.