A 94-year-old Chinese woman woke from a coma two weeks after suffering a stroke, but she stunned both doctors and family with the first words that came out of her mouth, which weren’t in her native tongue of Mandarin, according to The Mirror. Instead, Liu Jieyu awoke speaking fluent English to her doctors.
When she first woke she asked in perfect English: “Where am I? What is happening?”
Her family is apparently adamant that, although Liu used to be an English teacher, she has not spoken the language for over 30 years.
What’s more, when the medical staff attempted to question her in Chinese, she was unable to understand the language and an English-speaking doctor had to be brought in to examine her.
Liu was originally treated after she was diagnosed with a cerebral infarction — a stroke that limits the blood flow to the brain. She was put into an induced coma. Doctors believe that her inability to speak her mother tongue was caused due to minor brain damage in her language center, and are hopeful that as she heals she may regain some understanding of her first language.
In the video above, Liu is interviewed by Chinese media, but can only offer her answers in English.
Although bizarre, Liu is not alone in her sudden language loss. There are other stories from around the world, where patients come out of comas having lost their ability to speak their native languages.