Gary Dockery

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Gary French Dockery (1954 – April 15, 1997), was a police officer in Walden, Tennessee, who made world headlines after emerging from a 7½ year coma-like state and started talking enthusiastically, recognizing friends and recalling events from past years. He then fell back into a coma and died a year later.


On September 17, 1988, he was shot in the forehead by a drunken assailant as he responded to a domestic disturbance call. He slipped into what doctors called a persistent vegetative state, unable to communicate except occasionally with eye blinks and groans—indicating that part of his brain was still working.[citation needed]

But on February 11, 1996, he inexplicably stirred and started talking again nonstop, recognizing old friends, recalling the names of his horses, and recalling camping trips.[citation needed] By the second day he had largely become silent again, as he recovered from lung surgery and a serious bout of pneumonia. He never recovered to the same degree again.[citation needed]

A year later, on April 15, 1997, he died at the age of 43 from a blood clot in his lung. Dockery was transported from his nursing home to Erlanger hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:52 a.m.[citation needed]

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