They were told there was no chance of their son surviving after he suffered devastating injuries in a car crash. But Steven Thorpe’s parents refused to give up hope – despite four specialists declaring that the 17-year-old was brain dead.
Convinced they saw a ‘flicker’ of life as Steven lay in a coma, John and Janet Thorpe rejected advice to switch off his life support machine. They begged for another opinion – and it was a decision that saved him. A neurosurgeon found faint signs of brain activity and two weeks later, Steven woke from his coma. Within seven weeks, he had left hospital.
And four years on, the trainee accounts clerk says he owes everything to the persistence of his parents. From his home in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Steven, 21, said: ‘I feel so lucky that my parents wouldn’t take no for an answer.’ The schoolboy was travelling in a Rover with two friends in February 2008 when a stray horse ran into the path of the car in front of them.
His friend Matthew Jones, 18, was killed in the accident. Steven suffered serious injuries to his face, head and arm, and was declared brain dead two days later. He said: ‘The doctors were telling my parents that they wanted to take me off the life support. The words they used to my parents were “You need to start thinking about organ donations”. ‘I think that’s what gave my dad energy. He thought “No way”. They still believed I was there. When they sat around the bed they had the feeling I was there and some words they said to me I reacted to.
‘I think if my dad had agreed with them then I would have been off the life support machine in seconds.’ Accountant Mr Thorpe, 51, contacted private GP Julia Piper, known for her work in traditional and alternative medicines. Moved by their story, she asked a neurosurgeon whom she knew to visit Steven at University Hospital in Coventry.