EXCLUSIVE: Man's miraculous recovery from coma

December 19, 2012 7:54:14 PM PST
His family calls it a miracle -- it's the amazing recovery of a young man who awakened from a month-long coma after being shot in the head in San Francisco. We told you about him at Thanksgiving when he took his first steps. And now, ABC7 News has another exclusive look at his continuing recovery.

Benjamin Pessah has been going through physical therapy since he came home from the hospital two weeks ago. The 21-year-old says he's doing fine for the most part.

His physical therapist says Pessah's quick recovery is remarkable, even though he still has problems with his cognitive functions, "Problem solving, sequencing events for your daily activities, that kind of thing is normally the most difficult thing to get back," physical therapist Ann Vivian said.

Pessah just came out of a coma about a month ago. He was shot in the head on the weekend after Halloween.

Police later arrested Hun Saelee, who's been charged with four counts of attempted murder.

Investigators say Pessah was shot at Fort Mason after he tried to prevent Saelee from making unwanted advances toward his girlfriend. His wound was so severe that doctors only gave him a 25 percent chance of survival.

When we first saw Pessah just before Thanksgiving, he had uttered his first words to his mother, Kim, "I went in there and I told him to say 'hi mom,' and he said 'hi mom,' and that brought me to tears."

On that day we also witnessed the young man take his first steps since coming out of the coma.

"In our family, we call him the miracle child because of what he went through and what we understood that injury is, you don't survive," Henry Pessah said.

Benjamin has to wear a helmet all the time because a portion of his skull is still missing. Doctors will fuse that part next summer.

His memory is still blotchy but it's coming back. He remembers what happened at the party, but nothing after that when the attack happened, "I took pictures with my girlfriend on my phone," Benjamin said. "And so I looked at those pictures again and I remembered what happened and stuff like that, but for the most part, I don't remember anything from that point on."

For Benjamin Pessah and his family, every step he takes is a small but significant victory.

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