Doncaster mum gives birth in coma after rare brain disease gives her American accent

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A Doncaster mum who bizarrely developed an American accent has been forced to give birth in a coma, just weeks after being diagnosed with a rare condition.

Becky Prout, 31, suffers from anti-NMDAR encephalitis - dubbed brain on fire disease - an autoimmune disorder known to cause a loss of cognition, memory loss, speech disorders and even seizures.

The hotel receptionist was unconscious for the first month of daughter Maya's life and has since since struggled to recognise her own baby's face.

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Her partner Chad Maling, 30 - who believes Becky picked up the accent from TikTok - has been staying in accommodation near to the hospital.

Becky gave birth to Maya in a coma after developing a rare brain condition which gave her an American accent. (Photo: PA).Becky gave birth to Maya in a coma after developing a rare brain condition which gave her an American accent. (Photo: PA).
Becky gave birth to Maya in a coma after developing a rare brain condition which gave her an American accent. (Photo: PA).

He said the ordeal has left him 'absolutely broken' and he is now worried Becky might never return to her old self.

'Broken is probably the best word for it,' said Chad. 'We have lost a massive part of what was supposed to be the best time in our lives.

'It was so, so scary to see, because let alone being unwell, she was 27 weeks pregnant'.

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For Becky, the nightmare began on the evening of July 22, when she was six months pregnant and her and Chad had just enjoyed dinner together at a restaurant.

The couple had returned from a holiday in Gran Canaria, Spain, and went out for a meal at the Blue Orchid, a Thai restaurant, when she suddenly started acting strangely.

Chad recalled the moment his sweetheart transformed into a completely different person and began speaking with an American accent – even though she had never visited the United States.

Although strange within itself, it was only when he witnessed Becky sitting on the floor outside the restaurant commenting on how nice the rocks were, that he knew something was gravely wrong.

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Chad recalled: 'All of a sudden, when she finished the meal – boom, she exploded into this American person.

'She just turned American. And she isn’t. She’s from Doncaster, but her accent and personality, everything changed.

'I think she definitely got the American accent from TikTok, because a couple of weeks before, she was on it constantly.

'It was like she had taken on a whole different personality'.

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Five days later, Becky's condition spiralled as she suffered multiple major seizures, prompting emergency services to be called.

Medical staff who arrived on the scene immediately administered CPR, leaving Chad fearing he would lose both his partner and their unborn child.

She was rushed to Milton Keynes University Hospital where doctors advised she should stay overnight – but Becky, who was still acting strangely, refused and went home.

Her condition plummeted yet again and Becky was transported back to hospital the same day, where she eventually remained for three weeks.

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Doctors placed her in a coma before ultimately deciding to carry out a C-section owing to complications her daughter was facing in the womb.

It took doctors just three days to diagnose Becky with anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

Before Becky fell ill, the new dad was looking to set up his own plumbing business, but he has put his plans on ice while taking care of his daughter and supporting Becky

A follow up MRI scan later revealed Becky had a cyst on one of her ovaries which doctors believe may have triggered her immune system, causing it to attack her brain - and eventually cause anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

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A surgeon removed the cyst and her condition began to improve - but Becky remained on life support.

'Effectively, she died for a little bit while in there' remembered Chad.

'They had to come in and do CPR and bring her back around.

'The baby’s bladder was actually blocked, so they had to drain a litre of fluid off a baby that weighed 4.10 lbs.

'She was still in a coma unfortunately at this point, which is really, really sad'.

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It was not until a month after giving birth that doctors were finally able to wake Becky up.

She remained unconscious throughout the ordeal and remained so for the first month of her daughter’s life.

Chad added: 'We were told by the neurologist that it’s very, very rare to have it while you’re pregnant and that there’s only been like 30 cases reported in the world'.

Fewer than 30 cases of pregnant women with anti-NMDAR encephalitis have been reported in the world, according to 2020 research published by the American Academy of Neurology.

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Chad revealed that while things are looking up, full recovery could take five years.

He said: 'She’s slightly improving, but nowhere near as fast as what the doctors would like her to improve.

'I think yesterday was probably the first day in a long time, I’ve actually had a conversation with her. She’s still very, very confused.

'One minute, she’s cuddling up to her [the baby] and I’m saying, "look at you being the best mum in the world".

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'And three, four minutes later, she says, "that’s not my baby".

Before Becky fell ill, the new dad was looking to set up his own plumbing business, but he has put his plans on ice while taking care of his daughter and supporting Becky.

'It has destroyed everything, that we have worked bloody hard for as well.

'It’s crazy how one minute life can be so good and just turn so quickly.

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'And now there’s the worry of who Becky’s going to be when she’s better'.

A fundraiser was launched by Becky’s close friend Heaven Mayer on GoFundMe to help support Chad during this difficult time, which has already received over £4,500 in donations.

H explained: 'Without them [donations] it would be so much harder.

'I know times are not easy for anyone at all and still for people to donate is unreal, absolutely unreal'.

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Chad also praised the Ronald McDonald House Charities for providing accommodation near the hospital so he could continue visiting Becky on a daily basis, as well as Snap, a charity for families with children and young people who have any additional need or disability.

WHAT IS AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALITIS?

Autoimmune encephalitis is a serious medical condition in which the immune system attacks the brain, impairing function.

It caused by a problem with the immune system (the body's natural defence against infection).

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The immune system mistakes healthy tissue in the brain as a threat and attacks it, causing the brain to become inflamed and swell.

The body produces antibodies which attack the NMDA receptors in the brain, which are proteins that cause electrical impulses.

Their functioning is necessary for judgement, perception of reality, human interaction, memory, and the control of unconscious activities such as breathing and swallowing.

It's not always clear why the immune system malfunctions in this way.

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Some cases of autoimmune encephalitis are caused by the immune system reacting to the presence of a tumour (an abnormal growth) inside the body.

The main symptoms are flu like, but people also develop memory loss, difficulty sleeping, and may become unable to communicate or speak coherently.

They might become confused, have hallucinations or exhibit strange behaviour.

Other symptoms include seizures, loss of consciousness and movement disorders.