Coma Man Was Conscious for 23 Years

'I was witness to my own suffering,' says Belgian
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 23, 2009 3:30 AM CST
Rom Houben was trapped in his frozen body for 23 years.   (?Perfecto Insecto)
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(Newser) – A man believed to be in a coma for 23 years following a car accident was actually conscious but completely paralyzed. "I dreamed myself away," said Belgian Rom Houben, now 49. A doctor finally made the correct diagnosis and discovered Houben's brain was completely normal and functioning. With therapy, Houben is now able to communicate tapping out messages on a computer screen.

When he first awoke after the crash "I screamed, but there was nothing to hear," he recalls. "I became a witness to my own suffering as doctors and nurses tried to speak with me until they gave up all hope." He considers the discovery that his brain was functioning his "second birth." All that time locked in his body "I just dreamed of a better life," he says. "Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt."

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