Life After Coma
A series of documentaries exploring the lives of four people who’ve survived a coma but now live in various states of consciousness, made for Channel 4’s 3 Minute Wonder strand with unprecedented access to the survivors of comas and their families.
Shot with unprecedented access to hospitals and care centres around the UK, Life After Coma is a sensitive portrait that looks at the ongoing duty of care long after the initial, critical period is over.
Produced by Mosaic Films for Channel 4, the films were directed and filmed by Dr Barry J Gibb, a former neuroscientist and author of The Rough Guide to the Brain. He said, “Being conscious is something we take seriously for granted. In these films, each of the main characters became comatose after a serious incident, but all have managed to fight their way back to some form of awareness – continuing to improve and inspire those around them.”
John Aiton, a young man known to everyone as ‘Chippy’, was hit by a truck in 1996. After several years in hospital his parents, John and Carol, decided to care for him at home, despite the many sacrifices they knew they’d have to make. Still Here is about the continuing relationship between Chippy and his father who longs to have a conversation with his son, once again.
Work in Progress
By his own admission, Dean Harding used to be a ‘scallywag’, a bloke who enjoyed booze, girls and a scrap. After suffering from a serious brain injury, Dean was left wheelchair bound, depressed and with a lot of time to think. Thanks to the support of his family and Headway, the Brain Injury Association, Dean has transformed his attitude and his body, determined to help others with brain injury realise they still have much to offer.
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Piotr Kniecicki is a published author and professional artist. After waking from a stroke-induced coma, his mind was left intact but his body almost completely paralysed – a condition known as locked-in syndrome. Now residing at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, Piotr continues to publish his work, thanks to his ferocious determination, the staff and an ingenious language system that allows him to both speak and write.
Thomas Turns 50
In 2004 Thomas Hannigan was struck by a car and thrown into a coma. Now, he is believed to be minimally conscious, a form of limbo in which he seems to exhibit occasional, momentary awareness of himself or his surroundings. This year, his sister, Joan, decided to hold a party for his 50th birthday, bringing together friends and family, hopeful voices in the silence.
Watch these films on Channel 4 at 7.55pm from Monday 15th to Thursday 18th December 2008
Director: Barry J. Gibb
Executive Producer: Andy Glynne