Munira Abdullah was left with a traumatic brain injury at the age of 32 after the car she was travelling in was hit by a bus near Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, in 1991. But while she was receiving rehabilitation in Germany last year, she started making noises and tried to call for her son Omar after hearing him arguing in her room. Omar spoke of his joy as his name was the first time she had spoken in decades.
He said to The National: “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.”
On the day of the accident, Ms Abdullah’s brother-in-law had driven her to pick up four-year-old Omar from kindergarten as there were no buses available.
They were sat in the back seat when the bus hit the car and Ms Abdullah threw herself protectively around him.
As a result of this, he escaped from the impact with just a bruise.
Omar went on to say his mother was left untreated for many hours after the crash, but she was then transferred to a clinic in London once help arrived.
Doctors said she was in a vegetative state, which meant she could feel pain but was unresponsive.
When she was taken back to the UAE, she was put on a ventilator and was by fed a tube to keep her alive, before then being hooked on machines for the next few decades.
In April 2017, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, heard about her case and gave her family a grant for more treatment.
Ms Abdullah was transferred to Germany and received surgery to repair her muscles, while also being given medication to help with her sleeping patterns.
This helped her regain consciousness and she is now able to hold conversations with people, as well as recite prayers.
A medical report released from Mafra Hospital last month said Ms Abdullah is “currently able to communicate with self and surrounding in a very reasonable manner especially in familiar situations”.
But she still needs regular physiotherapy to help her build strength in her muscles, the report added.