Edwarda O'Bara

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Edwarda O'Bara
High School photo of Edwarda O'Bara before she went into a diabetic coma
Born (1953-03-27)March 27, 1953
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Died November 21, 2012(2012-11-21) (aged 59)
Miami Gardens, Florida

Edwarda O'Bara (March 27, 1953 – November 21, 2012) was an American who spent 42 years in a diabetic coma starting in January 1970 after contracting pneumonia in December 1969.



O'Bara was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Joe O'Bara and Kathryn "Kaye" McCloskey. She was named after Kaye's father Edward "Eddie" McCloskey, a mayor of the latter town during the 1930s.[2] Joe was a halfback at the University of Pittsburgh in 1952, was the Middleweight Boxing champion for the U.S. Navy during World War II,[3] and went on to become a physical education teacher, Kaye was a high school math teacher. She also had a younger sister, Colleen.[4][5]

Illness and care[edit]

O'Bara contracted pneumonia on December 20, 1969. Her condition worsened over a period of two weeks and she was taken to a hospital. According to her family, at 3 a.m. on January 3, 1970 O'Bara "'woke up shaking and in great pain because the oral form of insulin she had been taking wasn't reaching her blood stream".[6] The date was significant for the family as it was her parents' 22nd wedding anniversary.[7] She later slipped into a diabetic coma.[8] She was fed from a tube and her mother Kaye turned her from side to side every two hours to prevent bedsores. Kaye also read, played music and made conversation with her.[5] Her father Joe also gave up his job to care for her. By 2007, the costs of O'Bara's care had put her mother into debt by $200,000.[9] Her father, Joe, had a heart attack in 1972 and died in 1976, at the age of 50. Her mother, Kaye, died in 2008, at the age of 81. After their mother's death, Edwarda continued to be cared for by her sister.


O'Bara died at her home in Miami Gardens, Florida on November 21, 2012 at the age of 59.[10] In the aftermath, thousands of people from around the world pilgrimaged to the O'Bara family home.[4]


  1. ^ "Birthday celebration plans for world's longest-surviving coma patient". Belfast Telegraph. August 24, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  2. ^ O'Matz, Megan (October 31, 2003). "FL Mom Cares For Comatose Daughter For 33 Yrs". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Wells, Tom (December 25, 1995). "Woman has spent 26 years keeping her daughter's wish". The Daily Courier. p. 8A.
  4. ^ a b Drash, Wayne. "Comatose since Christmas 1969: A tale of unconditional love and miracles". Cable News Network. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b Cavaliere, Victoria (November 23, 2012). "Florida woman dies after spending 42 years in a coma". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Daily Mail Reporter (November 23, 2012). "Goodnight 'Snow White': Longest coma patient ever passes away after 42 YEARS... and her mom and sister never left her side". Daily Mail (Daily Mail and General Trust). Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  7. ^ "Mother Awaits End To 9-Year Sleep". The Palm Beach Post. January 14, 1979. p. A4.
  8. ^ "Mom stays by comatose daughter". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 25, 1995. p. 11.
  9. ^ Quaroni, Marlene (April 25, 2007). "Mother has cared for comatose daughter for 37 years". Catholic Online. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Moskovitz, Diana (November 22, 2012). "Edwarda O'Bara, who spent 4 decades in a coma, dies at 59". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 24, 2012.

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