Vanja Gudac, a 43-year-old man, ended up in a coma after choking on a fig that got stuck in his throat and caused his brain to run out of oxygen. His family’s idyllic life crumbled in just a few seconds, as they were told that he would not survive. However, after 15 days in the coma, hospital staff asked when they could take him home.
Vanja responds best to music, videos and audio messages. The biggest reward for his mother Vera Gudac is a wink and a handshake. Although institutions have given up on him, his cousin Vlado Naglić believes that every video and picture he receives is “soul food” for him and gives him hope for a better tomorrow.
Tatjana Popović Naglić, Vanja’s cousin, has been organizing an effort to send messages to Vanja from those who heard his story. She believes that these messages can stimulate his brain and give him some comfort during his difficult time. A Dnevnik Nova TV reporter spoke with Marina Raguž, a neurosurgeon at the Dubrava Clinical Hospital, who confirmed that messages can indeed stimulate the brain. She also explained that it is important for families to talk to patients, play music and stimulate them in any way possible because it may help wake them up from their coma or improve their condition.
Unfortunately, there are several bizarre cases of this nature where deep brain stimulation was considered as an option but not performed due to various reasons such as children choking on pills or suffocating by blowing balloons. In order for someone to become a candidate for this method, they must meet certain neurophysiological, neuroradiological and clinical criteria such as testing whether there is a signal between the brain and periphery and checking their condition before performing any radiological tests.