SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - There's been another major development in the recovery of Byrd High School senior Stuti Jawahar, who was left in a coma after a near-fatal accident back in January. She's now walking and talking.
The 17 year old suffered a serious brain injury when her car slid on a patch of ice on LA 3132 near Line Avenue on January 15 and hit a pole. She was near death.
Stuti's friends became what her parents have dubbed "waiting room warriors," visiting their daughter and talking to her daily, even though for nearly a month, she didn't respond.
It's been a slow recovery for Stuti, going from blinking to giving the "thumbs up" to sitting up and eventually walking. But the biggest breakthrough comes more than two months after the terrible accident: talking.
It's a monumental milestone that brings her father, a neurosurgeon himself, to tears. "The biggest thing I miss, is her beautiful voice - to call me 'Dad."
It finally happened on Thursday, during therapy. "She said ball," says A.J. Jawahar. "They were shooting hoops."
"Her speech therapist came running. I was out in the hall, she said, 'Please come here. I thought something was wrong."
A.J. says the therapist said, "'Stuti, what do you have to say to your dad?'. She looked at me and said, 'Dad, I love you.' I could have died and gone to heaven right then."
It's as if something has unlocked all of the sudden. While her voice is more high pitched than it was before and slurred at times, Stuti is communicating, and recalls that her birthday is the day after graduation on May 18.
Slurred or not, Stuti's dad feels the true message his daughter is delivering is clear. "I personally believe God was with her. I'm convinced one day she'll have that testimony and say, 'I wasn't alone, Dad."
Her doctor says her improvement is "leaps for neurological science."
While Dr. Suresh Kumar also calls Stuti's recovery a miracle, he's also crediting one of the many medicines he's been giving her a drug he says is FDA approved for use with Alzheimer's patients to manage what can often be erratic up and down emotions. "What we've been using if for, it's not FDA approved for what we've done here." But he says his research shows it works.