An Italian man has died at the age of 53 after spending 31 years in a coma having been cared for by his parents.
Ignazio “Cito” Okamoto was 22 when he suffered a brain haemorrhage in a car crash on March 19, 1988. A friend was killed and two others survived the accident on a motorway near Verona.
After two years in a clinic his parents decided to take him home and spent the next three decades nursing him, with no realistic hope that he might recover. “For 31 years we lived cut off from the world. The doctors had told us that he wouldn’t wake up but we cared for him every day, hoping that maybe . . .” Mr Okamoto’s mother, Marina, said.
His father Hector, a 77-year old Mexican with Japanese roots, added: ‘now life has changed. I woke up this morning at 5am and I didn’t know what to do. I went to the garden to water the flowers. The last few nights I slept in Ignazio’s room, even though he is gone, to be near him.’
He said he had left his job in 1990 to look after his son, with Marina working to support the family. Mr Okomoto said he had never thought about euthanasia for his Ignazio.