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Paralysed Belgian misdiagnosed as in coma for 23 years

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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 02:57 PM
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news.bbc.co.uk...


A Belgian man who doctors thought was in a coma for 23 years was conscious all along, it has been revealed.

Medical staff believed Rom Houben had sunk irretrievably into a coma after he was injured in a car crash in 1983.

A doctor at Belgium's University of Liege who discovered that Mr Houben had been misdiagnosed said his case was not an isolated one.

"I was shouting, but no-one could hear me," Mr Houben, now 46, was quoted as saying by a German magazine.

According to Der Spiegel, Mr Houben, who can now communicate by using a special keyboard, has described how his body did not respond when he woke up after the accident.

'Second birth'

He has also said that he felt powerless as doctors and nurses tried to speak to him before giving up hope, and that he "dreamt the time away" as the years passed.

It was only in 2006 that a scan revealed that though Mr Houben was paralysed, his brain was in fact almost entirely functioning.

"I will never forget the day they discovered me," Mr Houben was quoted as saying. "It was like a second birth."

Mr Houben's story was revealed in a paper written by Steven Laureys, a doctor at Liege University who wrote a recent paper that detailed the case.

In it, Mr Laureys said that in about 40% of cases in which people are classified as being in a vegetative state, closer inspection reveals signs of consciousness.


Bloody hell, this is almost unbelievable. This would be a nightmare scenario quite literally, one step below being buried alive in a similar condition. I've heard of people being pronounced dead before after paralysing snake bites, and were conscious but unable to move when they were just about to have an autopsy. In that case, they discovered in time that he wasn't dead, but there will be many mistaken cases that end up far worse off.

Luckily doctors eventually discoverd Mr Houben's condition, but I can not imagine what he went through.

[edit on 23-11-2009 by john124]




posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:35 PM
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In it, Mr Laureys said that in about 40% of cases in which people are classified as being in a vegetative state, closer inspection reveals signs of consciousness.


It should be made mandatory that people in 'vegetative states' get that "closer inspection" right away..



I hope this man had some pretty amazing dreams during his time off from the world.



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:37 PM
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