Locked-in success

Physiotherapy had a major role in the rehabilitation of a stroke patient who featured in the media recently as a ‘medical miracle’.

While Graham Miles’ 17-year road of recovery from ‘locked-in’ syndrome hit the headlines last month, he made some of his most significant progress during the first six months while in the care of a neuro physio. Lisa Butler was his lead physio during his inpatient stay at Mayday hospital in Croydon. The physio service was headed by a Bobath tutor and Lisa Butler followed this approach. Initially paralysed except for his eyes, doctors gave Graham Miles a grim prognosis. But through a combination of will power and physiotherapy, he steadily regained movement and managed to tackle a flight of stairs at the six-month mark. Lisa Butler said the syndrome was quite rare but usually followed a head injury. ‘I have never seen anyone so completely locked in after a stroke,’ she said. ‘And was a bi-lateral stroke, for which the most likely outcome early on is death. Graham’s recovery was huge.’ Graham Miles, who is now 66, said the physio was the most important factor in his initial rehabilitation. ‘The normal movement approach was really hands on,’ he said. ‘Once I had my motor function back, getting my body moving was my main focus and physio was absolutely fundamental. In fact, I regard the first day we tried the hydropool as the most significant day in my recovery.’  

Sally Priestley

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