Man comes out of coma after being shot in the head

November 22, 2012 8:06:41 PM PST
A young Burlingame man who was shot in the head and in a coma for almost a month is making a remarkable recovery.

"Your son Benjamin got shot and he's in the hospital," said the victim's father, Henry Pessah.

In the early morning hours of October 28, Henry got the phone call every parent fears. His son Benjamin was at San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition. His parents saw him being wheeled into surgery.

"I just wanted to touch him and I couldn't," Henry said.

The 21 year-old was leaving a Halloween party at Fort Mason when a stranger, Hun Saelee, made inappropriate advances toward his girlfriend. The man shot Benjamin in the head after he went to her defense.

At one point, doctors said his brain wound was so severe they gave him only a 25 percent chance of living. He was in a medically induced coma for almost a month.

"It was a very hard month for parents, very tough," Henry said.

However, the young man was fighting silently for his life. He was making small but significant victories. Four days ago, as they took his breathing tube off his mouth, he uttered his first words.

"I went in there and told him to say 'hi mom' and he said 'hi mom' and that brought me to tears," said Benjamin's mother, Kim Pessah.

Benjamin was transferred to UC San Francisco on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, the young man took his first steps.

His nurse calls it miraculous. "It's amazing. It's pretty rare. He's a pretty good fighter I think," UCSF nurse Courtney Criel said.

Benjamin's close knit family is now enjoying tender moments with him, optimistic that he'll recover fully.

"I don't even know if its reality or a dream. I do believe I'll have my brother back 100 percent," said the victim's brother, Gabriel Pessah.

Benjamin's family is taking this day by day. After all, one day he began to speak. On Thursday, he started walking. Who knows what Benjamin will do on Friday.

On this holiday, his family says they have much to be thankful for.


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