Doctors in Belgium have freed a hospital patient from a 23-year nightmare after discovering the man had been misdiagnosed with a coma.
Rom Houben, now 46, suffered serious injuries in a 1983 car accident, leading doctors to conclude he lived in a persistent vegetative state, but new testing techniques revealed Houben’s brain remained fully functioning throughout the two decade ordeal.
Neurologists had used the internationally accepted Glasgow Coma Scale to assess Houben shortly after the accident, but the test was graded incorrectly. When doctors conducted newly available hi-tech scans three years ago, they learned the truth about Houben’s condition.
Speaking with the aid of a computer, Houben commented, “I screamed, but there was nothing to hear. I dreamed myself away…Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt.” Houben describes the day doctors discovered his true state as a “second birth” and though he will likely never leave the hospital, he can now read books and communicate via computer.
Tons of health tidbits.