An Italian doctor who woke up from a coma with almost 12 years of memories wiped off his brain told in an interview published Thursday about his struggle to readapt to normal life after his extraordinary experience.

Pierdante Piccioni was involved in a serious car crash on May 31, 2013. He was in a coma for eight hours, and when he woke up in hospital he was convinced that it was October 25, 2001. He could not remember anything that happened after that date.

Speaking to the La Repubblica daily, he recalled the shock of seeing his wife suddenly looking much older, with “hair of a different colour, and wrinkles,” and his two sons, whom he remembered as aged 8 and 11, looking like “two grown-up boys, with beards.”

“After two days I looked in the mirror, in the bathroom. OK, a long beard, but who is that old man? Then I asked about my parents, why had they not been coming to visit me. Discovering that my mother had died three years before was painful,” Piccioni said.

The doctor explained that he had to be told about the euro – in 2001 Italy still used the lira as national currency – taught how to use smartphones and social media, and had to go back to studying the medical advances of the last few years.

Since waking up from the coma, Piccioni’s family has shown him photographs, films and football games from the period he cannot remember, and took him back to places of which he no longer has any recollection, in the hope of triggering an epiphany.

“There is still a vain hope that my memory’s files have not been burned, but only encrypted, and that I can find the password somewhere,” he said.

Piccioni said he refused an invalidity pension and, beating his colleagues’ scepticism, returned to work on February 1, as head doctor at an emergency room in Codogno, a small town about 60 kilometers south-east of Milan.

He told La Repubblica that writing a diary helped him go through hard times, which included bouts of depression, and said he was considering turning it into a book.




  1. An amazing story, cannot imagine myself waking up and not remembering 12 years of my life.
    An amazing person that even through all he went thru he is practising Medicine, where the Corona Virus Started Amazing,


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