Twenty-three years ago, doctors pronounced Rom Houben’s consciousness “extinct” after he was injured in a car crash. Kept alive for over two decades, brain scans recently revealed that Houben’s been fully conscious but completely unable to physically communicate all these years, essentially trapped inside of his own body.
Houben’s now able to communicate with friends, family and caregivers through advanced computer technology. Get ready for the Terry Schiavo debate to begin all over again.
Reports the Daily Mail:
‘I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,’ said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.
‘I dreamed myself away,’ he added, tapping his tale out with the aid of a computer.
Doctors used a range of coma tests before reluctantly concluding that his consciousness was ‘extinct’.
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.
Now please excuse me for a moment while I re-think the wording of my living will.