Bee Sting Coma Recovery

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

It's a story many would call a miracle. And it all happened right here in the Permian Basin. NewsWest 9 traveled to Andrews and talked with the man who awoke suddenly after being in a coma for over a week.

For 39-year-old Eric Gilliam of Andrews, serving in Iraq with the navy saw lots of dangerous times. But it wasn't as nearly as scary as a bee sting that pit him in a coma for over a week.

"I managed to catch pneumonia, a staff infection, and strep. And from what my parents tell me they were there everyday, the doctors basically told them you need to find a nursing home or you need to go ahead and make funeral arrangements, because he's not going to come out of this," explained Gilliam.

He was on the verge of death after a bad bee attack on the way from Seminole to Andrews. Gilliam said it all happened July 8th when he was going home after work at the Seminole EMS.

"I was driving down telephone road and got right outside of about Gains County and Andrews County and a bee stung me right on the neck. Well I knew I was going to be in trouble so, I shot myself with the EPI pen and called Seminole to send an ambulance, and I was having a lot of problems until the ambulance got there.

That's because Gilliam is allergic to bees, which means after the attack he broke out and swelled up.

"I remember them giving me medicine, and I remember getting to the hospital, and telling them I couldn't breathe, and evidently, they got a tube down me to breathe and I went into cardiac arrest," said Gilliam.

It all resulted in Gilliam being incapacitated for 9 days. Family members said he miraculously awoke when his daughter walked into the hospital room and said:

"Hi daddy it's me, Ambree, I love you."

"And they said my eyes just opened up, and from then on it was just recovery," said Gilliam.

Gilliam said he goes to rehab three times a week, and while it has drained a lot of energy out of him, he has already made enough progress to walk around with only a cane.

For now, Gilliam stays in Andrews with his parents. And with a pretty good outlook recovery wise, he is hoping to make nearly a full recovery so that he can go back to work with the Seminole EMS.