A father of two is trapped in his own body being fully conscious but barely able to move or talk after doctors repeatedly misdiagnosed his stroke.
Ivan Smirnov, 36, from Russia, has been diagnosed with locked-in syndrome and is stuck in his hospital bed.
His wife Natalya, 34, said her husband’s medical problems first began in February 2019, when he was “a healthy man" and working as a mechanic at his father’s workshop.
“On 11th February, 2019, we were driving our kids to school when he told me that he felt bad driving the car so we decided to change,” she said.
“When we dropped the kids at school he asked me to call an ambulance which arrived and (the paramedics) gave him a pill as he had high blood pressure.”
Mr Smirnov reportedly went home and slept but when he woke up he was struggling to walk.
“When we asked if it could be a stroke they said ‘no’ and diagnosed him with cervical osteochondrosis and told us to go home. When we left the doctor’s room Ivan fell down and started vomiting yet doctors insisted it was not a stroke,” his wife said.
According to Ms Smirnov they decided to call an ambulance again, which took Mr Smirnov to the regional hospital.
“While driving his left side was drooping and convulsions started. When we got to the place, an MRI and electrocardiography confirmed he had suffered a stroke. He fell into a coma that night,” his wife said.
Mr Smirnov woke up two weeks later but was not able to move, talk, eat or breathe by himself.
When his wife showed him a photo of their two children on her phone he started crying – showing the doctors he was still conscious.
“On the 22nd of May we took him to Dr Volkova’s rehabilitation centre in Ekaterinburg city and now he can breathe, eat, drink, nod and move one of his hands a little. He is fully conscious as we show him a file with letters and he combines sentences by nodding to the right letter,” she said.
Mr Smirnov has communicated that he does not need a wheelchair and “will definitely walk by himself one day”.
Clinical psychologist Elizaveta Leontyeva explained that Mr Smirnov’s condition is called locked-in syndrome, and is a consequence of a stem stroke.
“Locked-in syndrome is a rare phenomenon with the patient’s arms and legs completely paralysed, but at the same time a clear consciousness – their intellect does not suffer, the person understands everything but cannot talk,” the psychologist said.
According to the reports, a criminal case was opened into medical error yet no suspects have been named or reported.
Mr Smirnov’s daughter and son have continued attending school while his wife takes care of him.
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