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Clearwater woman in 25th year of coma


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001

Headlines through the years

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

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April 3, 1966 -- CLEARWATER -- Thirty-one-year-old Elaine Esposito of Clearwater has set a world record. But it is a record of human tragedy.

For the past 25 years, she has been in a coma -- the longest period of human unconsciousness known to medical science -- and her case is listed in the recently issued Guiness Book of World Records published in London.

On Aug. 6, 1941, the then 6-year-old daughter and only child of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Esposito was given anesthesia during surgery in Chicago for a ruptured appendix.

She has since alternated between deep sleep and open eyed unawareness of the world around her.

Medical opinion has been divided as to whether the child had incipient encephalitis at the time of the appendectomy or whether oxygen to the brain was insufficient while she was on the operating table.

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April 6 ,1966 -- Tarpon Springs landmark to be razed

TARPON SPRINGS -- At Tuesday night's regular meeting of the City Commission, bids will be opened for the demolition of another Tarpon Springs landmark, the three-story frame structure formerly known as the Womens Club.

The building is in Coburn Park, adjacent to the tourist club building and near the city library.

Bids also will be opened for removal of a burned and partially removed house on West Tarpon Avenue, across from the Gondolier Motel.

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March 10, 1939 -- Man held on gambling charge

CLEARWATER -- Charged with operating a gambling game, Manuel Villa of Tarpon Springs was bound over to circuit court under $500 bond yesterday after a preliminary hearing before Magistrate J.F. Register.

Villa and four other men were arrested Wednesday night when a squad of deputies raided a small room in the rear of Nick Bessis' establishment in Tarpon Springs. The raid was part of a statewide gambling cleanup ordered by Gov. Fred P. Cone.

Deputy Jack Strickland said about 10 men were playing various games when the officers entered. All but five escaped through a side door. The officers seized a gambling wheel known as a "poppa" wheel.

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April 17, 1948 -- Interest swells in proposed channel

SAFETY HARBOR -- Interest in the proposed public hearing April 28 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers relative to dredging a deep channel to Safety Harbor and Oldsmar drew one of the largest crowds of the season to the Chamber of Commerce meeting this week.

Chamber of Commerce officers stressed the fact that this public hearing is not the project of any one organization or any person, but rather of importance to every resident of the community who is concerned with the future of this city.

There will be a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night that will serve as a rehearsal for the April 28 hearings.

-- Julie Church compiles the history column. She can be reached at (727) 445-4229 or

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