Hillsborough survivor 'awakes'

Vegetative state man communicates with family after eight years

A man diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for eight years since the Hillsborough disaster has begun to start communicating again with his parents, it emerged last night.

Andrew Devine, now 30, was brain-damaged in the crush at the Sheffield Wednesday football stadium in which 95 fans died in 1989. He was diagnosed at the time as being in a PVS.

After a few months in hospital he was taken home to their family house in Allerton, near Liverpool, and has been cared for by his parents, Stanley and Margaret, there ever since.

They have consistently refused to allow the termination of the artifical feeding that has kept their son alive in the hope that one day he would recover some of his faculties.

The news is likely to reignite the row about the quality of PVS diagnoses and the moral dilemma over whether a patient believed to be in such a state should be allowed to die, and at what stage.

Mr Devine's condition was believed to be similar to that of Tony Bland, another victim of the stadium tragedy who was allowed to die after a decision made by the House of Lords in 1993. It was a landmark decision for "right to die" cases. After the ruling, the Devines' solicitor, Rex Makin, said: "Mr and Mrs Devine sympathise with the Blands but their attitude is not the same. They hope that one day [Andrew] may recover some of his faculties." That day seemed to have arrived yesterday.

Mr Makin confirmed reports that Andrew had become aware of his surroundings and was once again communicating with members of his family.

Mr Makin would not comment further than saying that the Devines and his son Robin Makin, who has taken on the case for the family and was a former school colleague of Andrew, were both delighted by the news.

In a statement released last night, Robin Makin said: "Andrew does have some re- cognised cognition and he is aware of what's going on around him. All the hard work which has gone into looking after him has had some very real benefit. He communicates by pressing a touch-sensitive switch - one for 'yes' and two for 'no'." He has benefited from "the devoted love and care of his parents combined with a proper care regime and physiotherapy," Mr Makin added.

Andrew's present condition was "chalk and cheese" compared with his previous state. "He hasn't been languishing in a bed somewhere. He's had constant stimulation."

Mr and Mrs Devine could not be contacted at their home last night.

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people

Sport
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Norwegian Speaking Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 per annum + competitive OTE: SThree: Progressive in Manchester is seeki...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Telecoms Engineer - Telecoms Administrator - London - £26,000

£26000 per annum + 25 days holiday & further benefits: Ashdown Group: Telecomm...

Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are seeking a confident...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London