Veteran awakens from coma during final prayer; family now faces mountain of red tape to bring him home


The Bedwell family

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A Gulf War veteran’s family had to make a difficult choice recently, and only a miracle could change their tragic course.

Gulf War veteran Frank Bedwell was in a coma.  With the pressure of a brain bleed pressing against them, his family came to a conclusion.

“My kids and myself, we all knew what he would want for himself. We knew that he didn’t want to live on machines for the rest of his life,” said Amy Bedwell, Frank’s wife.

They decided to turn off the machines at six o’clock.

“Fifteen minutes before it was time to pull the plug, I sent everybody out except for my kids,” Amy recalled.

“We called my dad. We prayed for him.  And he woke up.”

The family says Frank woke up from his coma during that phone call.  You can hear that phone call by clicking the video below.

"To me and my family, it was a spiritual experience," said Amy.  "We believe in miracles. And anybody that was involved in this situation with him, it was miraculous."

Frank has made progress.  "We went from a man that was in a vegetative state and saying that he was not ever going to do anything ever again to now he's reading words on flashcards," Amy said.

Their miracle has filled them with faith.  "I believe as long as his family and his loved ones are there to encourage him and believe in him and have faith in him that I believe he can do anything," Amy added.

His family tries to be there for him the best they can, but it's tough.  Three of his four children live in Huntsville, and Amy does too.  She's working at a dollar store and her miracle left her with a mountain of debt.

"The first bill I opened was $41,000," said Amy.

So far, in answer to a new round of prayers, all letters Amy has received from the VA are denial letters.

She can't get him in a nursing home in Alabama. She says she's been told they require active Medicaid in the state, but so does his current facility in Louisiana.

"As long as he is in Louisiana, Alabama Medicaid will not pick him up," Amy said.

The Bedwells' appeal is taking time, and life is complicated for them.  Amy has work to keep up with, and Frank has an intense rehab.  But the family did recently celebrate the addition of a grandchild.

WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to try to help the Bedwell family.  We reached out to Congressman Mo Brooks' office, who quickly provided us with a liaison to help navigate the world of Veterans Affairs.  The family says they also have an attorney now, so that should help too.

We'll keep you updated on Frank's condition as this develops.