Terry Wallis

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Terry Wallis
Born(1964-04-07) April 7, 1964 (age 48)
Arkansas, United States
SpouseSandi Wallis (1980's-present)
Children1
Website
http://www.theterrywallisfund.org/
 
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Terry Wallis
Born(1964-04-07) April 7, 1964 (age 48)
Arkansas, United States
SpouseSandi Wallis (1980's-present)
Children1
Website
http://www.theterrywallisfund.org/

Terry Wallis (born 7 April 1964) is an American man living in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas who on June 11, 2003 regained awareness after spending 19 years in a minimally conscious state.

Contents

Life

Terry Wallis was born on April 7, 1964 in Arkansas to Angilee and Jerry Wallis. Six weeks before his accident, Wallis became a father when his wife Sandi (4 years his junior) gave birth to his daughter Amber.[1]

Accident

Wallis became comatose when he suffered a major automobile accident where his pickup truck skidded off a small bridge near Stone County, Arkansas on July 13, 1984 which resulted in one of his friends being killed. The pickup truck was found upside down in a dry riverbed and Wallis smashed into a railing fence and fell 25 feet.[1] He was found to be unresponsive and was immobilized but breathing. The accident left him a quadriplegic. Within a year of the accident, the coma stabilized into a minimally conscious state but doctors believed his condition would never recover.[2][3][4][5]

In 2003 he awakened from his minimal conscious state and began to talk, asking one of the staff in the nursing home who the woman in his room was. She told him that it was his mother. He believed that he was still 20 and that it was still 1984.[2] His muscles remained weak as his family could not afford physiotherapy, but he gradually recovered over a three day "awakening period" in which he regained the ability to control some parts of his body and to speak to others. However, he remains disabled from injuries suffered during the original accident, including the motor disorder dysarthria.

Wallis was the subject of the BodyShock special for 2005 "The Man Who Slept For 19 Years" made for Channel 4 in the UK.[6] It shows his mother and daughter encouraging him to talk to neurologists to try to find out how Wallis had regained speech after such a long time. The program featured several well-known doctors, including Dr. Caroline McCagg, the medical director of the JFK Center for head injury in New Jersey, Dr. Joe Giacino, a neuropsychologist who said Terry's brain retained lots of information from before 1984 but hardly any after 1984 because Wallis lost the ability to store new memories and was essentially amnestic, and Dr. Martin Gizzi, a neurologist who showed that, owing to damage to the frontal lobes, he could not process experiences into memories. Also featured in the program was the neuropsychologist professor Roger Llewellyn Wood.

Using new technology, brain scans were done on Wallis by Nicholas Schiff of Weill Cornell Medical College.[7] The hypothesis built from the imaging studies is that Wallis's brain reconnected neurons which remained intact and formed new connections to circumvent damaged areas.

See also

References

External links