Neuroscience: Man was conscious 23 years ... but who except him knew?
At the Mail Online, Allan Hall reports (November 23, 2009) on the case of a man who was conscious for 23 years, but no one knew because he was paralyzed.
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.
Read more here.
It sounds like a horror film, and he could maybe get rich on the film rights.
Seriously, I think doctors should be much more careful with the "persistent vegetative state" (PVS) diagnoses than they sometimes are - if consequences follow. Some people - like Rom Houben, above - can be conscious without being mobile. We aren't even sure what consciousness is , after all, so why be definitive about who has it?
Here are some more articles about persistent vegetative state:
Is the patient vegetative or minimally conscious?
Neuroscience: Can locked-in sufferers tweet, using brain signals alone?
Another "human vegetable" turns out to be wired for thought