Thought to be in a coma for 23 years, man turns out to be conscious the whole time - MMA Forum - UFC Forums - UFC Results - MMA Videos
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thought to be in a coma for 23 years, man turns out to be conscious the whole time

For 23 torturous years, Rom Houben says he lay trapped in his paralysed body, aware of what was going on around him but unable to tell anyone or even cry out.

The car crash victim had been diagnosed as being in a vegetative state but appears to have been conscious the whole time. An expert using a specialised type of brain scan that was not available in the 1980s finally realised it, and unlocked Mr Houben's mind again.

Mr Houben, 46, is now communicating with one finger and a special touchscreen on his wheelchair.

"Powerlessness. Utter powerlessness. At first I was angry, then I learnt to live with it," he said, punching the message into the screen during an interview with the Belgian RTBF network, aired on Monday. He has called his rescue his "renaissance".

"I would scream, but no sound would come out,'' he said. "I will never forget the day they finally discovered what was wrong - it was my second birth.''

He could hear what was being said around him throughout but was unable to respond.

"I became the witness to my own suffering as doctors and nurses tried to speak to me and eventually gave up," he said.

Cut off from the world, he passed his time in thought.

"I dreamed of a better life all the time. Frustration is too small a word to describe what I went through," he said.

"I want to read, to talk to my friends with the computer and to live life now people know I'm not dead."

Over the years, Mr Houben's family refused to accept the word of his doctors, firmly believing their son knew what was happening around him and gave no thought to letting him die, his mother, Fina, said.

She was vindicated when the breakthrough came.

"At that moment, you think, 'Oh, my God. See, now you know.' I was always convinced," she said.

The discovery took place three years ago but only recently came to light, after publication of a study on the misdiagnosis of people with consciousness disorders.

While a 23-year error is highly unusual, the wrong diagnosis of patients with consciousness disorders is far too common, said the study, led by Steven Laureys of Belgium's Coma Science Group.

"Despite the importance of diagnostic accuracy, the rate of misdiagnosis of vegetative state has not substantially changed in the past 15 years," the study said.

Back then, studies found that "up to 43 per cent of patients with disorders of consciousness are erroneously assigned a diagnosis of vegetative state".
This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard! Anyone else hear about this?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 04:24 AM
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I read about that on yahoo a couple days ago. I cant imagine what kind of hell that man went through, I hope nothing but the absolute best happens to him from now on.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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If there is a such thing as karma, what kinda ****ed up horrible things did this guy do before the accident?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 07:30 AM
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And here we thought we are suffering... It must be really bad to be in such a difficult situation. I will be extremely frustrated if I can't talk or tell people what is going on.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 12:32 PM
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ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so frustrating, so sad.
thanks for posting this though man, i'll always remember this story for sure.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 01:02 PM
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I think there's a Stephen King short story dealing with this.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 02:18 PM
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Holy shit that's crazy.

I read a similar story in Stephen King's: "Everything's Eventual." The story was a man that was thought to actually be dead, and in fact he had been bitten by a snake who's venom paralyzes him. They were able to figure it out before the autopsy, fortunately lol. Crazy shit.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 03:35 PM
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I believe teh medical term is "locked-in state"...basically he has no ability to communicate that he is awake and aware of everything, but he is. Eye movements and lid elevations usually don't get impaired. I think that is how they communicate once accurately diagnosed. Must be awful though...I think it happens to stroke patients and not really the result of head injuries too often.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 04:03 PM
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wow, i would go insane, i cant imagine how many people i would have to make up in my mind to talk to, wow just wow

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 04:25 PM
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I read a book somewhat similar to this when I was in junior high, it was called stuck in neutral and it was about a kid that had cerebral palsey or something like that and had no control over his body or speech and never had, but he had complete consciousness and intelligence, nobody else was aware of this though. I cant imagine going through anything like this, not even being able to kill yourself.
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