Mum's recovery from devastating stroke defies odds

Survivor touches lives of Taranaki medical professionals

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 23/10/2012
Teresa Kingi has almost recovered from a stroke that almost killed her
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
MIRACLE WOMAN: Teresa Kingi, 44, has almost fully recovered from a stroke that almost killed her and left her in intensive care for three weeks.

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A stroke survivor has touched the lives of Taranaki medical professionals after a miraculous recovery.

Teresa Kingi, 44, of Melbourne, suffered a crippling stroke last month during a family visit to her mother in Waitara.

Mrs Kingi was taken to hospital in a coma so severe that doctors doubted she would recover.

After three weeks in the intensive care unit and another week in hospital Mrs Kingi, beyond her doctors' belief, was discharged and last Thursday flew back to Melbourne.

Speaking to the Taranaki Daily News she said it was the support of her extended family and care of the doctors that aided her recovery.

Mrs Kingi was in a coma for three days and during that time her family was told she had a limited chance of survival and if she did wake up it was likely she would have brain damage.

The night Mrs Kingi was brought into hospital 12 adults and nine babies slept in the waiting room on mattresses.

Mrs Kingi was put on life support and because of the congealed blood around her brain was having 300ml of blood drained six times a day for 10 days.

"When the family got told I might not make it through the night everyone just burst into tears," she said.

Two days later her sister sat telling her she needed to be strong and to wake up and shortly after she opened her eyes for the first time. After five days in hospital Mrs Kingi woke up and the first thing she asked was what the date was.

"My daughter said it was the 25th and the next thing I said was that it had been 25 years since my first baby died and that today was her memorial," she said.

Family and doctors were shocked that after being on life support and in a coma the first thing she recalled was such an old and specific memory.

"Everyone was so happy because they knew this meant I was going to be OK but I didn't understand and was obviously sad," she said.

At that point the medical staff started calling her the miracle woman. Her doctor, Tim Cutfield, says he is amazed by Mrs Kingi's recovery and her rapid improvements have defied expectations.

"Teresa is the sort of case you want to come to work for because her and her family are just such lovely people and her recovery went from strength to strength."

Mrs Kingi had brought her

family to Taranaki to support her brother who was on trial for rape and later acquitted.

Dr Cutfield said he can't rule out that the stress of the court case didn't contribute to her illness but there were other medical factors.

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Clinical nurse manager Stephanie Besseling said there was a lot of family with Mrs Kingi all the time but they did a great job of being considerate of ICU's visiting rules.

"Teresa is our ray of sunshine for the unit this year and it sounds silly but we were kind of sad when she left because everyone had enjoyed her and her family being around."

Mrs Kingi has been diagnosed with a bone marrow disease, polycythemia vera, and has headed back to Melbourne to get further treatment to continue to lower her blood cell counts.

One of her daughters, Chanelle Allen, 23, was so impressed with New Plymouth and the community support she has decided to stay on and get work in Taranaki.

"I just love it here and the place and people are just so nice," she said.

- Taranaki Daily News

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