How letters from schoolfriends helped a Wiltshire teenager come back from 'Locked-in syndrome'

  • Report by Robert Murphy

Letters from schoolfriends helped start a teenager with Locked-in syndrome on the road to recovery, she says.

Miranda Meldrum, who is 16, suffered a catastrophic brain haemorrhage at her home in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, in April 2017.

Doctors saved her life, but she was left unable to talk or move.

For four months she was paralysed. She understood everything around her but was unable to communicate.

Miranda Meldrum suffered a catastrophic brain haemorrhage that left her paralysed but aware of everything that was going on. Credit: Meldrum family

When her mother started reading letters from her classmates to her, Miranda broke down in tears and her body started to move in a way it hadn’t since before the brain haemorrhage.

Miranda's mum Dr Stella Meldrum says: "Tears and tears were coming from her eyes reading these letters. Her whole body shook and her arms went up and the little shakings of the legs and everything that she could do she just did like that. Just an amazing succession within about five minutes. And then she slept for 24 hours.

"I spoke to the consultant because I was quite worried and I said, 'Have I done the right thing because you don't know?'. And he said, 'Your instinct is right,. You've got to do what is normal and tears are good.'

"Those tears did activate everything she could do."

Miranda recalls that moment: "I remembered all my friendships towards the people in my class and all my classmates. I just thought - I'll get back to you."

A slow but steady recovery - the moment Miranda manages to spell out her name. Credit: ITV West Country

Miranda has since stunned doctors by starting to recover. As well as extensive physiotherapy, she has undergone dance therapy, started singing lessons and has begun to walk again on crutches.

ITV West Country has witnessed some of the milestones in Miranda's recovery.

Miranda has returned to St Laurence School in her home town of Bradford on Avon, where she gained a GCSE pass in biology. She is studying the same subject in the sixth form.

And she continues to sing, practising on a karaoke machine at home.

Miranda took to the treadmill during lockdown to raise money for NHS ventilators Credit: Meldrum family

Inspired by Captain Tom, Miranda has been raising money for NHS ventilators during lockdown, holding a sponsored treadmill walk at home.

Locked-in syndrome has had a number of high-profile patients. Wiltshire’s Tony Nicklinson, fought an eight-year right-to-die campaign.

It is rare for a patient with LIS to start making any kind of recovery.

Miranda says her main ambitions are to walk again unaided and to sing like she did before her brain haemorrhage.

Miranda wants to be able to sing like she did before her brain haemorrhage and has been practising with a karaoke machine. Credit: ITV West Country