This is horrendous. I don’t even want to imagine it because it freaks me out. A guy in a car crash was believed by doctors to be in a “vegetative state” for 23 years. BUT HE WAS CONSCIOUS THE ENTIRE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can you believe that? 23 years of internally screaming “I’m in here!!!” and nobody can hear you? And although this story has what you could classify as a happy ending I can’t help but think of the people who’ve been starved to death because doctors believed incorrectly that they were in a “vegetative state.”
The Daily Mail reports:
A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time.
Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them – but could make no sound. ‘I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,’ said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegetative state.
‘I dreamed myself away,’ he added, tapping his tale out with the aid of a computer.
But three years ago, new hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.
Mr Houben described the moment as ‘my second birth’. Therapy has since allowed him to tap out messages on a computer screen.
Mr Houben said: ‘All that time I just literally dreamed of a better life. Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt.’
His case has only just been revealed in a scientific paper released by the man who ‘saved’ him, top neurological expert Dr Steven Laureys.
‘Medical advances caught up with him,’ said Dr Laureys, who believes there may be many similar cases of false comas around the world.
The disclosure will also renew the right-to-die debate over whether people in comas are truly unconscious.
Ya’ think? You’d hope that something like this would humble the doctors who are quick to starve those in a “vegetative state.” It probably won’t.
This is similar to discovering a truly innocent man on death row. When that happens that should make death penalty advocates think twice, shouldn’t it? So when it turns out that what we call a “vegetative state” might just be a condition we don’t yet have the tools to diagnose, shouldn’t we reconsider starving people to death with the same diagnosis?