Ohio woman wakes up from 7-month coma after family was told to ‘pull the plug’

31-year-old Kertisha Brabson shouldn’t be in Alliance, Ohio or her mother’s living room for that matter. She says she shouldn’t be alive and doesn’t shy away from it.

“I have no idea,” she said. “I don’t remember anything.”

September of 2018 is when Williams got the call about Kertisha acting funny. She was doing strange things like reaching out for things that weren’t there, talking and dancing like she was at a concert. A seizure put Kertisha in a coma that lasted seven months.

“I don’t have no doctor’s background,” Williams said. “[I’ve] never been to school for anything, but when it’s your child, you’re going to do everything in your power to bring your daughter back.”

Williams says it was eventually determined: Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. It’s a disease where the body fights its own brain cells. The next step was to determine how to fix it. Or, maybe, doctors couldn’t.

“We were going to keep moving her because once I saw the doctors scratching their heads that clearly let me know they gave up and they don’t know what’s going on with her,” Williams said. “They told me she was brain-dead and pull the plug and all those things.”

Kertisha was moved from one hospital to a second and third because pulling the plug was not an option.

“Every decision that I made was because she got two little people that was depending on their mother to come home and that was her kids,” Williams said.

Kertisha gave doctors another reason to scratch their heads after being moved to the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State.

“In someone like her condition there is mortality above 60 percent,” Mainali said.

Then, after about four months at Ohio State, came April 7, 2019. A day Williams will remember down to the time.
“I get a call, 5:10,” she said. “I’ll never forget, 5:10 a.m.”

So will Dr. Mainali.

One of my residents who was on-call at night texted me in the morning and says you won’t believe what I saw today,” she said. “I was like, what happened? [I was told] Tisha is opening her eyes and she’s following simple commands.”

“And he said well, she’s woke up,” Williams said. “Oh, my goodness, we just jumped up and down and screamed and nobody slept that morning.”
To Kertisha, it was September. The same day, the same moment she fell asleep seven months prior.

“[The nurse] was like ‘Yeah, Ms. Brabson, you’ve been asleep for seven months’,” Kertisha said. “I was like ‘Do my mom know?” she laughed.

“I am quite hopeful in her case that she’s going to continue to do well and hopefully live a normal life,” Mainali said.

Kertisha and her mother say they are extremely grateful and thankful for the work of the medical professionals at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Williams says she owes her life to those who took such great care of her daughter.

This Christmas, Kertisha’s home with her mother, her daughter, Diamonique and her son, Perez. And she doesn’t think — she knows she’s meant to be here.

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