After suffering a devastating car accident while she was five months pregnant, Amelia Bannan lay seemingly lifeless in a hospital bed. She was put in an induced coma, unaware of everything she had been through. Under the watchful eye of her brother and sister, Amelia’s family waited and prayed for that the moment she would wake up again. Unfortunately, the doctors didn’t believe that day would ever come. But everything changed in a single moment for the most beautiful reason. Read on to find out how Amelia wowed the medical world, and find out who was the driving force behind what doctors now call a medical miracle.
1. Picture Perfect
The future couldn’t have seemed brighter for 34-year-old Amelia Bannan from San Pedro, Misiones, Argentina. Pictured here she clutches her niece in a loving embrace, excited because she was expecting a baby of her own later that year.
When Amelia wasn’t on duty as a police officer, she spent a lot of quality time with her husband Christian Espíndola, her brother and sister, Cesar and Norma, and their kids. Family time was always an integral part of the Bannan family.
2. Just Another Day At The Office
On November 1, 2016, Amelia was in a patrol car with five other officers, including her husband who was driving the car. The officers were making their way to a police course held in one of the local towns.
They hopped into the Chevrolet Onix and started driving to their destination when Amelia’s husband, Espíndola, started getting confused as to where they were supposed to go as he wasn’t so familiar with the route.
3. Tragedy Strikes
Things took a literal turn for the worse when suddenly, the car slid, overturned, and veered onto the shoulder of the road near Santa Ana, about 35 kilometers from Posadas in the Misiones province of Argentina.
Amelia Bannan, her husband, and the other three police officers clearly weren’t going to make it to their destination, but it was only Amelia who was severely injured. In fact, it was only Amelia who felt something was wrong before tragedy struck.
4. Strange Premonition
It turns out that Amelia had a strange premonition about the accident the night before. After the accident, her husband told local radio station Radio Libertad that Amelia had frightening dream of the car rolling over.
Espíndola recalled that “She told her companions that we were going to travel only to turn over; she had a feeling.” Tragically, her dream came true. One of policewoman actually told everyone, “Pray, because what a pregnant woman says is true.” But what did this mean for Amelia and her baby?
5. A Menacing Outcome
No one in the car was injured besides for Amelia. In fact, the other officers came out of the horrific accident unscathed. That wasn’t the case for Amelia Bannan. The luck that protected everyone else during the accident wasn’t on her side.
Amelia’s skull was fractured and it caused a blood clot to her brain. She was rushed to Madariaga Hospital where she was placed in an induced coma, one from which the doctors feared Amelia would never regain consciousness.
6. A Miracle Baby
When doctors examined Amelia Bannan after the accident, her baby was still growing and healthy. As she progressed in her pregnancy, Amelia also showed several signs of consciousness by moving her eyes and opening her eyes ever so slightly.
Then on December 24, 2016, on Christmas Eve, Amelia began having contractions at 34 weeks, so the doctors decided to perform an emergency cesarean section to avert any potential danger. Once again, she opened her eyes, but only her eyelids made slight movements.
Amelia had given birth to the most beautiful and healthy baby boy even though she was in a coma. He weighed in at just 1.89 kilograms, which was a good weight for a premature baby born at just 34 weeks gestation.
“He was born on Christmas Eve, it was a miracle,” Amelia’s brother Cesar Bannan stated. That’s why her family chose to call him Santino because it means “little saint.” However, after the delivery, Amelia lost all her vital signs again and relapsed back into the coma and was moved to Neuma de Posadas clinic.
8. Santino the Tiny Tot
The doctors kept Santino in hospital for a month to ensure no complications arose. They wanted him to grow a bit and gain more weight before he could be released to go home with his Amelia’s sister, Norma Bannan.
“He is growing well, there are no complications. He is a little fighter,” Cesar told news outlets at the time. The doctors thought Amelia would never wake up after suffering such severe injuries, so her brother and sister made plans to care for Santino. That didn’t mean anyone gave up hope for one minute, though.
9. Norma Bannan
Norma Bannan, an educational psychologist who worked in San Pedro decided to move to Posadas, a 10-hour drive away from her home, in order to look after Santino. She decided to leave everything in order to tend to the baby.
Together with her two-year-old daughter, she rented a house four blocks from the clinic, while her brother Cesar Bannan traveled back and forth to help Norma with all the arrangements with the clinic and the baby.
10. Cesar Bannan
Amelia’s brother Cesar also decided to temporarily move to Posadas to help look after Santino and be close to his sister Norma, who decided to take care of the baby full time. With two daughters of his own, he didn’t hesitate to help.
Also a former police officer, Cesar owned a shop called TIMI Shoke, which sells police force clothing for the province of Misiones, as well as fishing and camping equipment. He helped find an apartment, so they could all be close to Amelia.
11. Evening Visits
Every evening, Norma brought baby Santino to spend some time with his mother. Amelia might have been unconscious, but that didn’t stop Norma from placing the baby on her chest, so he could bond with his mother.
Norma wanted Santino to feel the warmth of his mother even if she was unconscious. She took videos of the heartfelt moments and she and Cesar shared them on social media. They believed some good would come of these visits because of the power of the bond between a mother and her child.
12. Don’t Give Up Hope
Norma continued with the daily visits, but nothing budged with Amelia Bannan. She was unable to speak or move and seemed unaware of all her surroundings. Her family refused to give up, though. Norma and Cesar visited with their children to uplift the mood.
Santino proved to be a key player in these visits. He would cradle on his mother’s chest for almost four months. Eventually she started reacting to different stimuli like his smell and when he cried, but nothing could have prepared the family and doctors for what happened next.
13. “Yes, Yes”
One day in early April 2017, Norma Bannan brought Santino for his routine visit. Norma believed it was essential for his development to be able to bond with his mother no matter the circumstances, so she insisted on going every day.
While she was feeding Santino his bottle next to Amelia’s hospital bed, Norma and Cesar heard a sound. “That day we heard, there in the silence, while we were giving Santino the bottle, we heard a low voice, we heard, ‘Yes, yes,'” Cesar Bannan told Argentinian TV station NTN24.
14. Another Miracle
Another miracle had occurred. Amelia Bannan had finally woken up! Her family looked at the hospital bed stunned. They could hardly believe that Amelia had murmured those words. Cesar wanted to check they weren’t imagining things to avoid disappointment.
He told the radio station how he told Amelia to stick out her tongue if she understood what he was saying. “Stick out your tongue,” he declared, and lo and behold, she stuck out her tongue.
15. A Powerful Bond
The Bannan family just knew in their hearts that it was Santino and the daily evening visits that brought Amelia back to them. They firmly believed that the baby’s presence helped bring his mother back to consciousness.
“It was a total revolution. Norma lay on Amelia’s body, embraced her, and wept tears of joy. It revolutionized our hearts,” he exclaimed during his interview with NTN24. However, among all the joy and excitement, would Amelia know she had a son? After all, she was in a coma for five and a half months and didn’t know she had given birth. At this point, the doctors didn’t know the extent of the damage.
16. When Mother Meets Baby
When Norma brought Santino to meet Amelia, she thought it was her nephew. She had no idea she had given birth to this beautiful baby boy. Cesar and Norma Bannan had to explain that he was her son and why she was probably confused about it.
Once Amelia realized that she had indeed become a mother, after seeing photos of herself pregnant and images of the ultrasounds, she wanted to get to know Santino as much as possible. Norma made sure to bring him to the clinic every morning and evening so Amelia could hold and touch her son.
17. Documenting the Beautiful Moments
During one visit, Norma placed Santino on Amelia’s chest where he nestled in comfortably. They had started to bond the way they should have when he was born. Cesar knew he had to document this beautiful moment.
He took a video of this poignant moment and shared it on social media. As Amelia Bannan healed and her bond with her little miracle baby grew stronger, he uploaded more and more heartwarming pictures and videos. It’s no surprise that this story eventually reached international news outlets.
18. International News
News of Amelia’s miraculous story and her miracle baby, Santino, spread across the world. Her story was particularly famous in Germany and Spain. Everyone wanted to know what caused Amelia to suddenly wake up from her coma and where she was in her road to recovery.
As everyone would soon learn, Amelia was making tremendous progress every day. The doctors didn’t think she would ever be the same after such a horrific injury, let alone survive it. Well, as these miracle stories tend to unfold, Amelia would continue to surprise the doctors even more.
19. Baby Steps
At first Amelia could only respond “Yes” or “No” to questions and move ever so slightly, but eventually she was able to answer questions and follow instructions. Her physiotherapist Roberto Gisin told NTN24 that she also started turning over in her bed and moving all her limbs soon after she woke up.
Her family posted videos of her hugging and kissing Santino in a cuddling embrace. Amelia might have lost four months with her baby, but his daily visits definitely established the foundation of their bond for when she woke up. Doctors saw this progress and were hopeful that she would walk soon.
20. More Improvement
Amelia’s recovery swiftly continued with daily exercise with her physiotherapist, speech therapist, and psychologist. At first she couldn’t pronounce the letter “S,” but that changed after her therapist worked on Amelia’s reading and speech every day.
She also underwent kinesiology every morning and afternoon as soon as she learned to stand alone for up for five minutes without any support. With so many professionals working with her day in and day out, her condition could only improve.
21. Strong-Willed Amelia
Soon Amelia started to regain her memory and recalled everything except the accident itself. She continued to defy the odds and cooperated with her doctors’ orders every day, completing all her exercises. “She keeps surprising us,” said her neurosurgeon Marcelo Ferreira.
Eventually, she only had to continue with her kinesiology. The doctors were blown away after they checked her brain and found that nothing was left of the blood clot on the brain, so her vision and speech were functioning normally.
22. A Loving and Supporting Family
Cesar told everyone that every single day of Amelia’s recovery was miraculous. “For us, every day is a miracle,” he exclaimed. Her doctors also decided to administer her some Botox injection treatments to soften her muscles and aid with her eating.
Cesar recalled the day she managed to eat a lollipop saying, “She also ate a lollipop, although she doesn’t open her mouth, she still managed to eat it.” He also spoke of how Amelia managed to touch the floor with her feet and felt the cold sensation of the tiles.
23. Santino’s First Birthday
By the time Santino’s first birthday came around, Amelia’s recovery had created an air of hope throughout the Bannan family. She served as a constant source of inspiration because of her determination to get better for her son.
Cesar celebrated the precious moments by posting lots of pictures of Amelia Bannan and Santino together. His favorite was of Amelia caressing her son in her arms, and how she tried to stop his hiccups by gently placing a sheet over him.
24. A Community Effort
The San Pedro community also stepped in and held three festivals to raise money for all the expenses. While most of Amelia Bannan’s medical expenses were covered, the community stepped in and showed solidarity to help the family by renting her a house.
Cesar and Norma also wanted Amelia to be able to go outside and breathe in the fresh air, so the community raised money for an orthopedic wheelchair. “We are very grateful,” Cesar said. “They were with us from the beginning because everything demands a lot of expenses.” The money also helped Cesar to rent a small house in San Vicente for Norma, her daughter, Amelia, and Santino to live.
25. A True Medical Miracle
The Bannan family always believed that the true player in Amelia Bannan’s recovery was Santino. Despite all the doctors’ medical efforts and expertise, it was the daily contact, bond, and love the two shared that encouraged Amelia to recover.
She responded well to him from the moment she woke up and would get a little sad when she realized her limitations. Those realizations pushed her to soldier on, with the love and support of her family, of course. But Amelia had one more surprise for everyone!
26. Christmas Time
Christmas time is a very special one for the Bannans. Not only is it Santino’s birthday, but this time his mother got to celebrate it with him in their very own home. This picture truly captures the love and bond these two share.
With the help of her loving brother and sister, Amelia Bannan moved into a comfortable home where she could celebrate Christmas surrounded by family and a beautifully-decorated Christmas tree and gifts. Her speedy recovery has been the biggest Christmas gift of all.
Perhaps the most touching photograph of Amelia Bannan’s entire recovery process was when she stood proudly in her police uniform in early 2018, while holding Santino, her miracle baby. Not only did learn to function again, she was also able to get back to her profession.
The picture was taken during an emotional ceremony held in the Municipal Sports Center of San Vicente to honor Amelia, her remarkable recovery, and her contributions to the Argentinian police department. Cesar placed the image on Facebook with the caption, “Today she enjoys her son… Thank you all.”
28. Out And About
It takes a very strong-willed and courageous person to be a police officer, so it’s no surprise that Amelia Bannan decided to put her uniform back on and continue to serve the community. She couldn’t look happier with her brother Cesar by her side.
Cesar Bannan was a tremendous pillar of support during the entire ordeal, so this picture encapsulates all the love, trust, hope, and faith the Bannans share. It serves as an inspiration to never give up, even in the face of tragedy.
29. Family Time
The Bannan family are extremely close, and now that Amelia has fully recovered, they enjoy lots of quality time together laughing, eating, and goofing around with all the children. Cesar loves to take selfies and capture all the wonderful moments.
Santino is growing into a beautiful little boy and besides for his mother, he gets showered with attention by his loving aunt, uncle and cousins. Just a year before, no one could have pictured such a happy scene.
30. Miracles Do Happen
Doctors are still not sure if there will be any long-term medical effects on Amelia Bannan from the accident, but if the recovery she made in such a short time is anything to go by, it seems like she’ll be more than okay.
Cesar hopes that Amelia’s story will inspire other families with relatives in a coma to never give up hope. “We are hopeful and want to inspire anybody in a similar situation. We have seen that miracles are possible and that you should never give up.”
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