Welcome Back..Don Herbert!
For you old geezers.....This Don Herbert is the NEW Mr Wizard!
God bless you Donald!
By CAROLYN THOMPSON
Associated Press Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Ten years after a firefighter was left
brain-damaged and mostly mute during a 1995 roof collapse, he did
something that shocked his family and doctors: He perked up.
"I want to talk to my wife," Donald Herbert said out of the
blue Saturday. Staff members of the nursing home where he has lived
for more than seven years raced to get Linda Herbert on the
It was the first of many conversations the 44-year-old patient
had with his wife, four sons and other family and friends during a
14-hour stretch, Herbert's uncle Simon Manka said.
"How long have I been away?" Herbert asked.
"We told him almost 10 years," the uncle said. "He thought it
was only three months."
Herbert was fighting a house fire Dec. 29, 1995, when the roof
collapsed, burying him under debris. After going without air for
several minutes, Herbert was comatose for 2 1/2 months and has
undergone therapy ever since.
News accounts in the days and years after his injury describe
Herbert as blind and with little, if any, memory. Video shows him
receiving physical therapy but apparently unable to communicate and
with little awareness of his surroundings.
Manka declined to discuss his nephew's current condition, or
whether the apparent progress was continuing. The family was
seeking privacy while doctors evaluated Herbert, he said.
"He's resting comfortably," the uncle said.
As word of Herbert's progress spread, a steady stream of
visitors arrived at the Father Baker Manor nursing home in this
"He stayed up 'til early morning talking with his boys and
catching up on what they've been doing over the last several
years," firefighter Anthony Liberatore told WIVB-TV.
Herbert's sons were 14, 13, 11 and 3 when he was injured.
Staff members at the nursing facility recognized the change in
Herbert, Manka said, when they heard him speaking and "making
"The word of the day was `amazing,"' he said.
Dr. Rose Lynn Sherr of New York University Medical Center said
when patients recover from brain injuries, they usually do so
within two or three years.
"It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but
sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't
Manka said visitors let Herbert set the pace of the
conversations and did not bring up the fire in which he was
"The extent and duration of his recovery is not known at this
time," Manka said. "However we can tell you he did recognize
several family members and friends and did call them by name."
On the Net:
Father Baker Manor: http://www.chsbuffalo.org/body.cfm?id982
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)