Student wakes from coma after 30 days in bed

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Student wakes from coma after 30 days in bed

After being attacked at night by a comedian, a female university student who suffers from a rare brain disease ran home to her parents and collapsed, entering a coma from which she awoke on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old student, whose family name is Kim, was on her way home on June 5 after finishing her shift at a department store when a minor comedian allegedly threatened her from behind.

Kim pushed him away and ran home, but after arriving and telling her parents what had happened, she collapsed from a stroke brought on by moyamoya disease.

Moyamoya disease is a rare disorder caused by constricted arteries in the brain. The word “moyamoya” means “puff of smoke” in Japanese and describes the look of tangled vessels that cause the blockages.

The comedian was arrested on June 7 and after police examined CCTV footage of him reportedly threatening Kim, and received test results from the National Forensics Service showing that DNA collected from a cigarette at the crime scene matched that of the comedian, he was sent to the Uijeongbu District Prosecutors’ Office.

The prosecution indicted him on charges of robbery and causing injury on June 22.

According to the prosecution, the comedian was selected through an audition from a broadcasting system in 2009, but was relatively unknown to the public as he hasn’t been appearing in many programs.

The prosecutor added that he is struggling financially after being the victim of a loan fraud and was therefore unable to settle the case by compensating the victim.

While the prosecutor’s investigation continued, Kim went through three surgeries to treat her brain damage but by June 29, she was still in a coma. Her parents, already heartbroken by what had happened to Kim, now faced mounting medical costs.

The prosecution thus held a council on Wednesday to discuss financially supporting Kim and decided to grant roughly 10 million won ($8,658) to her family.

Since Kim has been in a state of coma for about a month, the council planned to provide more subsidies if her medical costs rise or if she becomes disabled due to her injury.

Fortunately, however, she woke up on Tuesday, five days before her 20th birthday.

A staff member at the hospital in Seoul where Kim is being treated said that she has not fully recovered yet but that she is capable of listening and moving her left hand and foot. The hospital has moved Kim from the intensive care unit to a general ward.

“If you can hear my voice,” Kim’s mother said in the first conversation since that night , “blink your eyes.”

Kim responded by blinking her eyes.

“Try making a pair of scissors with your hands,” her mother urged.

Kim feebly raised two fingers.

Although the doctors have removed Kim’s respirator, she still takes in food and water through a tube, but her parents say that they are relieved to see their daughter finally coming back to them.

“My heart ached so much because my little girl, who hadn’t yet become a woman, was gone,” said Kim’s mother. “The madness drove me crazy. But she’s finally awake and I feel happy and thankful for all the people who supported us.”

At the trial on Thursday, the suspect denied his charges and claimed that he is not responsible for Kim’s collapse because the video footage does not show him holding a knife or grabbing her clothes.

His attorney also argued that the comedian did not know that the victim suffered from a rare disease and if it was not for this, she would not have collapsed.

BY SHIN SOO-YEON, KIM MIN-WOOK [shin.sooyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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