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Miami woman Edwarda O’Bara dies after 42 years in coma

Miami, Nov 26 (): A Miami woman who spent over four decades in a coma died Wednesday morning in her Miami, Florida home, five years after the death of her mother, who had remained at Edwarda’s side since she slipped into a coma. She was 59.

Edwarda O’Bara is survived by her sister, nephew Richard O’Bara and great-nephew Joseph Michael O’Bara, who all stayed with her in the home.

Edwarda O’Bara was a 16-year-old teenage high school student who wanted to be a pediatrician when she fell ill in 1970, throwing up her diabetic medicine. Her family took her to the hospital, where she slipped into a diabetic coma. Just before losing consciousness, Edwarda asked her mother, Kaye O’Bara, to never leave her side and she didn’t for nearly 40 years.

Joe O’Bara, Edwarda’s father and Kaye took care of their daughter —played music, read to her, turned her for every two hours, given insulin, given nourishment through a feeding tube and bathed — until their deaths in 1976 and 2008, respectively.

Kay O’Bara kept her promise, taking care of her daughter until she died five years ago. Kay was a devout Catholic who said she felt the presence of the Virgin Mary in her daughter’s room. She died in her sleep in 2008 at the age of 80 in the same room she shared with Edwarda.

Then Colleen O’Bara, Edwarda’s sister stepped in and continued taking care of her sister in her Miami Gardens home. Colleen quit her previous job as a horse trainer to care full-time for her sister. Colleen would also lovingly braid her sister’s grey hairs, suck the mucus from Edwarda’s throat to allow her to breathe and constantly speak to her sister, assuming Edwarda was soaking up her every word.

In an announcement of Edwarda’s death posted Thursday on a website dedicated to her, Colleen O’Bara wrote: “Yesterday while taking care of Edwarda I noticed her looking directly at me and gave me the biggest smile I had ever seen. She then closed her eyes and joined my Mom in Heaven.” Edwarda O’Bara’s memorial is scheduled for Tuesday.

According to Guinness World Records, the longest time anyone has spent in a coma was Elaine Esposito, also of Florida. She spent 37 years, 111 days in a coma after appendix surgery when she was 6-years-old.