It was a little more than a year before police officer Gary Dockery, 43, di*ed. He had been in a coma-like state for 7 1/2 years and then woke up and spoke for several hours, which amazed his family.
Dockery made headlines all over the world on February 11, 1996, when he woke up and started talking for no apparent reason. He then went back to living a mostly silent life.
Dockery talked briefly about camping trips, his green Jeep, and the names of his horses. He also told his 12 and 20-year-old sons that he loved them.
An autopsy was planned to find out what killed the person.
In 1988, Dockery passed out after being shot in the head by a drunk man who was mad at the police for telling him to quiet down because the noise was bothering his neighbors.
The officer who was paralyzed and had to be fed through an IV was bathed and dressed as usual on Tuesday. He was then waiting for his turn for physical therapy when something went wrong.
Alexian Village of Tennessee is on Signal Mountain, about 10 miles from Chattanooga. A spokeswoman for the home, Susan Showalter, said that he was “in distress.” After being taken to the hospital, they said he was dead.
Neurosurgeon Bruce Kaplan said Tuesday, “I still had hopes we’d be able to help him.” “But Gary and his family may feel better now that he’s dead.” No matter how hard we tried, we could never give him back more than a piece of his old life.
Reporters were told that Dockery’s family was too upset to talk to them.
In January, family members said that the “small wonders” that happened after he spoke had given them hope. Dockery learned how to move a motorized wheelchair by paying attention to what a nurse said and pushing a lever.
Brain scans and drug tests were done by doctors to try to figure out what happened or why Dockery started talking, but the results were not clear.
At the time that Dockery talked, he was going to have surgery. Before the surgery, his family said that they would be glad to have one last chance to talk to him.