Three-month-old baby Santino sucked his bottle under the watchful eyes of his aunt Norma and uncle Cesar. His mother, Amelia, lay seemingly lifeless in a coma beside them, having been involved in a devastating car crash five months earlier. Then all of a sudden, the relative quiet was broken by an amazing sound…
Amelia Bannan is a police officer from Posadas, in the northeast of Argentina. On November 1, 2016, when she was five months pregnant, she was in a patrol car with five other police officers. The driver that day was her partner, Christian Espindola.
The officers were not on the way to a crime scene on that fateful day. Rather, they were getting ready to attend a police course in the local area. Bannan, however, would not make it to their destination.
Eerily, Espindola later told local news outlets that Bannan had dreamed about the car rolling over the day before the accident. “She told her companions that we were going to travel only to turn over, she had a feeling,” Espindola told Radio Libertad. Tragically, her premonition turned out to come true; the car veered off the road and crashed.
While no one else in the car was seriously hurt, Bannan was horrifically injured. Indeed, her skull was fractured, causing a blood clot on her brain. She was consequently hospitalized in a coma, and doctors didn’t think she would ever regain consciousness.
On Christmas Eve 2016, despite Bannan still being comatose, doctors delivered her baby via cesarean section. The family named the boy Santino, or “little saint.” He weighed in at 4.16 pounds, a good weight given that he was born early at just 34 weeks’ gestation.
Overall, then, he was doing well. Still, medical staff kept the tot in hospital for a month before the boy’s aunt Norma took him home to care for him. In fact, she had moved to Posadas with Bannan’s brother, Cesar, to help look after Bannan and her son.
So every evening, Norma would bring Santino to the hospital to spend time with his mother. She even placed the baby on Bannan’s chest, so he could benefit from the close contact with her and feel her warmth. Sometimes Cesar and Norma took videos of their interactions and put them on social media.
Still, Bannan remained in a coma, unable to speak or move, and seemingly unaware of everything around her. As ever, though, her relatives continued their daily visits to her bedside with Santino. They would not stop hoping that one day she would wake up.
Then, in early April 2017, when Bannan had been unconscious for five and a half months, something miraculous happened. At that time, her son was three months old, and Cesar and Norma had brought him as usual to see his mom.
As they fed Santino his milk next to the hospital bed, they heard a sound. Bannan’s brother told Argentinian TV station NTN24, “That day we heard there in the silence, while we were giving Santino the bottle, we heard a low voice, we heard, ‘Yes, yes.’”
Yes, Bannan had woken up and spoken. Her family were stunned and could hardly believe it. Cesar explained in the interview, “To corroborate if she was listening to me, I told her, ‘Amelia, if you understand me, stick out your tongue.’ And she stuck out her tongue.”
To the family, it seemed that their visits and the presence of the little boy might have helped bring her around. Cesar added, “It was a total revolution. Norma lay on Amelia’s body, embraced her, and wept tears of joy. It revolutionized our hearts.”
Cesar and Norma placed Santino on Bannan’s chest, where the baby nuzzled his mother. Her brother documented the incredible moment and even uploaded the pictures to social media. And as Bannan continued to recover and bond with her little boy, Cesar uploaded more heartwarming videos and pictures.
At first, Bannan was only able to say yes or no. But it was not long before she was able to say and do more. For instance, the videos her family posted on social media show her cuddling and kissing her son. Despite the extraordinary circumstances around his birth, then, the bond between them seemed clear.
Bannan’s recovery continued apace. Cesar said at the time, “Amelia is getting better all the time. She does exercises twice a day where she has to read and speak. She is having difficulty pronouncing the letter S.”
Soon, Bannan could turn around and move her limbs. She was also said to have remembered everything except the accident. And after celebrating Santino’s first birthday in December 2017, Cesar again posted some truly remarkable pictures online.
So, with continued visits from her son throughout the ordeal, Bannan got better and better. Even the medical staff were taken aback by how she continued to defy the odds. “She keeps surprising us,” said neurosurgeon Marcelo Ferreira.
And after a lot of work in therapy, Bannan was able to walk again. She later stood proudly beside Cesar, who is also a police officer, when the Argentinian police department recognized her remarkable recovery.
Perhaps most touching of all, though, are the photos that Cesar posted in early 2018 of his sister with the one-year-old Santino. In them, Bannan is finally back in her police uniform, clearly keen to return to her old life. “Today she enjoys her son… Thank you all,” Cesar simply wrote.