Woman Has Surgery, Awakens With British Accent

Woman Surgery British Accent – One woman came out of oral surgery with a painful mouth and a puffy face. However, that’s not all that changed for Karen Butler. Her words tumbled out in a different sound.

The sound was a foreign accent. Over the next few days, the swelling subsided and the pain vanished, but her newly acquired language did not. Though it has softened over time, she’s never again spoken like an American.

“I sounded like I was from Transylvania,” Butler said. To most people, she sounds British. It took months to find an explanation: foreign accent syndrome, a disorder so rare that only about 60 cases have been documented worldwide since the early 1900s.

She’s the first known case in Oregon, said Dr. Ted Lowenkopf, medical director of the statewide Providence Stroke Center.

The condition changed Butler’s life, forcing her to answer endless questions about her accent. Most people are incredulous at first. A few insist she’s faking it.

One of the first cases was reported at the turn of the last century by a French neurologist. But the best known case, documented by Norwegian neurologist Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn, was a 30-year-old woman, who was hit by shrapnel from a German air raid over Oslo in 1941. The injury left her with a speech impairment that gradually improved, turning into what sounded like a German accent to her countrymen. Suspecting that she was a collaborator, they ostracized her.