A woman who went into a coma following a traumatic labour seven years ago has astounded doctors by waking up.
Danijela Kovacevic, from Serbia, gave birth to a baby girl, Marija, in 2009 but lapsed into unconsciousness after developing deadly blood poisoning, sepsis.
The 25-year-old, from Indjija in the northern part of the country, remained in a vegetative state for years – becoming one of the country’s longest-surviving coma patients – but has stunned medics by waking up – and meeting her daughter for the first time.
The young girl is now seven years old and, in one particularly heart-warming image, is seen cuddling her mother who gazes back in wonder.
‘These are minor recoveries, but Danijela is much better that before,’ her father, Djordje Kovacevic, said. ‘She has put on weight, she is more aware and more alive. She reacts, smiles and gets angry.’
Scroll down for video
Together: Danijela Kovacevic, 25, recently emerged from her vegetative state to meet her daughter Marija, who is now seven years old
Now, doctors in a German rehabilitation clinic, based in Pforzheim, say she has advanced to the point where she can hold a tablet and pen in her hand, as well as sit up and follow conversations.
The progress is a result of extensive physical and speech therapy that stimulates brain cell function.
However, the private treatment is expensive and, as a result, her family are trying to inspire donations from well-wishers who can alleviate the financial burden.
Specifically, the family claim they needs a further 50,000 Euros (£43,000) for the treatment to continue.
‘The recovery of three months [which she has undergone so far] is really short,’ her father added.
‘A man who breaks an arm needs more than three months of recovery, imagine how much time my daughter needs.’
Recovering: Danijela Kovacevic pictured in her hospital bed after showing signs of progress
Before the tragedy: Danijela pictured before she was struck down by the often-fatal illness
Progress: Doctors say she can now hold a tablet in her hand, sit up and follow conversations
THE 7P PILLS THAT CAN FIGHT SEPSIS
Blood pressure pills costing just 7p a day could be a major new weapon against sepsis, researchers found in January.
A study showed the drugs, called calcium channel blockers, halve the risk of dying from sepsis, which kills more than one in three victims.
Millions already take the tablets, which include brands Amlostin, Adizem and Felotens, to lower blood pressure or prevent chest pain caused by angina.
Dutch scientists believe the cheap pills could help slash the death toll from sepsis – higher than cancer of the breast, bowel and prostate combined.
The news comes after the Mail’s successful End The Sepsis Scandal campaign, which resulted in NICE recommending antibiotic treatment within the first hour of symptoms.
‘That is because you are [essentially] teaching a kid to do certain things. She had very hard training. She walked 800 metres and that is a big achievement.’
Realtives have recently started a collection for Danijela’s treatment, but they fear it will not be enough.
Mr Kovacevic added: ‘They organised a competition in taekwondo and all the money they gathered was for Danijela’s recovery.
‘They gave us 10,000 Euros (£8,700), but we need 50,000 more.’
Meanwhile, Danijela’s paternal grandmother, Mary Vesna, told Serbian magazine Blic that one of the biggest financial costs is, perhaps surprisingly, diapers.
‘We manage as best we can. She needs her diaper changed every three hours, each day, plus food and medicine.
‘The money people donate can help us gather ourselves and focus on her care’.
Fundraising: Her family are now hoping that they can find £43,000 to continue her treatment