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Father-of-two from Blackpool develops a bizarre ‘Liverpudlian twang’ after waking up from a coma

Father-of-two from Blackpool left paralysed head-to-toe develops a bizarre ‘Scouse twang’ after recovering from a coma

  • Nick Lovell, 36, was unable to move his limbs one morning in April 2015 
  • He was in hospital for two years, using a tracheotomy to help him breathe 
  • But the breathing tube ‘weakened his tongue’ and he developed the accent 

A father from Blackpool bizarrely developed a ‘Scouse twang’ after recovering from a coma.

Nick Lovell, 36, was left paralysed from head-to-toe four years ago, after being struck by sudden ‘strange feeling’ in his feet.

Doctors discovered he was suffering from two rare disorders – Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis and Guillain Barre syndrome.

Mr Lovell, who was at one point unable to move anything but his mouth, had to learn to talk again during two years recovering in hospital.  

His tongue was allegedly left ‘weakened’ by a tracheostomy, a tube inserted into his windpipe to help him breathe. He claims this has given him the unusual accent. 

Nick Lovell developed a Scouse accent while recovering from a coma caused by two serious nervous system disorders – Bickerstaff Brainstem Encephalitis and Guillain Barre Syndrome

The devoted Blackpool fan has been jokingly teased by his friends, who have even bought him a mug saying ‘Liverpool’s No.1 fan’. 

But Mr Lovell is accepting of his new accent, considering the other challenges he has had to face since his life was turned upside down.

Mr Lovell claims he went to bed one night with a strange feeling in his feet and the following day he found it difficult to move.  

He was initially left totally paralysed and unable to do anything other than offer the first flickering of a smile – despite being aware of was going on around him.


Over the course of 48 hours, Ellen Spencer, the farmer’s daughter from Indianapolis went from sounding like the Midwestern girl she is to speaking with an international blend of accents. 

Some words the 56-year-old says sound French, others German. 

In May 2009, Ms Spencer was doing her graphic design work on her computer when her chin suddenly went numb.

The feeling – or lack thereof – spread upward on one side of her face. Soon, Ms Spencer couldn’t feel her lips, chin or nostrils, as if she’d gotten a lidocaine shot.

The next day, she went to the hospital where she got no answers.

Ms Spencer’s numbness continued to shift to different areas of her body, and she developed a migraine, and, at the hospital, the staff was as confused as she was.

Ms Spencer did her own research, found information on foreign accent syndrome (FAS) and brought it to neurologists, but they had never heard of the condition.

It is not clear at what point he fell into a coma. 

Mr Lovell told The Blackpool Gazette: ‘I remember coming round and, mentally, I was able to do everything. 

‘The message goes from your brain to your arm to scratch an itch, but there’s no response – that felt a bit strange.’

Doctors diagnosed him with Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis, a rare condition whereby the nervous system is inflamed and limbs are weakened. 

It is often misdiagnosed, therefore treatment is delayed, and there have been few controlled trials looking into the condition.

He was also diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that causes the body to spontaneously attack its own nerves.

Mr Lovell spent two years recovering in hospital. It is unsure if he spent the entire time there, or just periods. For a few months, he needed a tracheostomy, a tube inserted into the windpipe through the neck, to enable him to breathe.

Tracheostomies are usually put in place if a patient has suffered a brain or spinal injury or a medical episode such as a stroke, which leaves them unable to breathe unaided. 

He was transferred to the Royal Preston for rehabilitation after having his tracheostomy taken out. This can often require helping patients learn how to talk again. 

Speech requires a steady flow of air reaching the vocal cords from the lungs. This is interrupted in patients fitted with a tracheostomy.

But Mr Lovell claims he developed his Liverpudlian twang due to a weakened tongue, allegedly caused by the temporary tracheostomy.  

He said: ‘My tongue and vocal cords were paralysed and when I got my voice back, for some reason, I had a Scouse twang. 

‘I had Liverpool-supporting friends who bought me a mug saying “Liverpool’s No.1 fan”.’  

For patients unable to breathe unaided, the tracheostomy tube can be attached to a machine (ventilator) that supplies oxygen. 

The NHS says patients can find it difficult to speak if they have been fitted with a permanent tracheostomy. 



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