Author Topic: Trapped inside his body 23years  (Read 1467 times)

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Trapped inside his body 23years
« on: November 26, 2009, 08:49:30 AM »
From Guardian newspaper 26/11/2009

For 23 years Rom Houben was ­imprisoned in his own body.

He saw his doctors and nurses as they visited him during their daily rounds; he listened to the conversations of his carers; he heard his mother deliver the news to him that his father had died. But he could do nothing. He was unable to communicate with his doctors or family. He could not move his head or weep, he could only listen.

Doctors presumed he was in a vegetative state following a near-fatal car crash in 1983. They believed he could feel nothing and hear nothing. For 23 years.

Then a neurologist, Steven Laureys, who decided to take a radical look at the state of diagnosed coma patients, released him from his torture. Using a state-of-the-art scanning system, Laureys found to his amazement that his brain was functioning almost normally.

"I had dreamed myself away," said Houben, now 46, whose real "state" was discovered three years ago, according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel this week.

Laureys, a neurologist at the ­University of Liege in Belgium, published a study in BMC Neurology earlier this year saying Houben could be one of many cases of falsely diagnosed comas around the world. He discovered that although Houben was completely paralysed, he was also completely conscious — it was just that he was unable to communicate the fact.

Houben now communicates with one finger and a special touchscreen on his wheelchair – he has developed some movement with the help of intense physiotherapy over the last three years.

He realised when he came round after his accident, which had caused his heart to stop and his brain to be starved of oxygen for several minutes, that his body was paralysed. Although he could hear every word his doctors spoke, he could not communicate with them.

"I screamed, but there was nothing to hear," he said, via his keyboard.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 08:51:31 AM by oldbill4823 »


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Re: Trapped inside his body 23years
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2009, 09:05:56 PM »
There are a couple of good books about this kind of subject if you want to check them out:

I Think There's Something Wrong With Me - Nigel Smith

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby

Maybe Rom Houben will manage to right a book as well. Could be an interesting read... could also turn out to be the most tedious biography, ever.  :-P
« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 09:10:14 PM by Polaris »
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Re: Trapped inside his body 23years
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2009, 05:09:08 AM »
I have seen the article about this one.

Being in a vegetative state but actually paralyzed and conscious is really damn, a hellish experience.

He was typing on some computer key-board to communicate, I think a device similar to that of Stephen Hwakings.
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