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Patient in 23-year ‘coma’ was conscious all along

Published by onlines on November 24, 2009


‘I screamed, but there was nothing to hear’:
Man trapped in 23-year ‘coma’ reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious

A car crash victim who was believed to have been in a coma for the past 23 years has been conscious the whole time.

Rom Houben was paralysed but could not let doctors know that he could hear every word they were saying, reports the Daily Mail.

“I dreamed myself away,” said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.

Doctors conducted a series of coma tests before concluding that his consciousness was “extinct”.

But three years ago, new hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.

Rom+Houben+Mom

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.

Mr Houben, a former martial arts enthusiast, was paralysed in 1983.

He is never likely to leave hospital, but as well as his computer he now has a special device above his bed which lets him read books while lying down.

Mr Houben said: “I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me – it was my second birth.

“I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and enjoy my life now that people know I am not dead.”

( source:ananova )

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