She got admitted to a psychiatric facility

With her condition only getting increasingly worse and no cure in sight, Susannah’s attending physicians were worried that she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. They suggested admitting her to a psychiatric facility, where she could hopefully get better treatment.

Dr. Souhel Najjar’s intervention

Susannah had a dismal road ahead of her, with her condition only getting worse and worse each time. Her friends and family thought she was doomed to spend the rest of her life locked up in the facility. The current Susannah was a bleak shadow of her once healthy and happy self. That’s when Dr. Souhel Najjar decided to take another look at Susannah’s condition.

He knew something was amiss

Dr. Najjar turned out to be Susannah’s saving grace. He wasn’t going to pass the same judgment as of the doctors before him, and do an uninformed diagnosis. He knew her behavior was inexplicable, but that it wasn’t time to give up on Susannah just yet. He asked her to perform one simple task. And that task was going to be the determining factor in her life.

He asked her to perform a simple task

When Dr. Najjar had his first look at Susannah, he knew it in his heart that there was more to the tortured soul that was Susannah Cahalan. With his doctoral instinct in full throttle, he got to the task of determining Susannah’s exact affliction. Dr. Souhel Najjar asked Susannah to draw a clock. And with that simple task, his suspicions were confirmed.

A misdiagnosis

That one simple task turned out to be the saving grace for Susannah. Her apparent “insanity” was not true insanity, but rather, something else entirely. Her condition was an indisposition of the body, rather than of the brain. Susannah’s condition had been misdiagnosed this whole time.

What was really wrong with Susannah?

Dr. Souhel Najjar had asked Susannah to draw a simple clock. Drawing a round figure and writing numbers along its edge was a simple enough task to achieve. But what was peculiar about Susannah’s rendition of a clock was that her clock showed all the numbers on the right side of its face. It was a clear indicator of brain damage.