UNREAL: Rom Houben Trapped in Coma for 23 Years was Awake the Whole Time … Misdiagnosed being in a Vegetative State


Imagine being trapped in a room for 23 years and no way to communicate with your family, friends and loved ones. Imagine being locked in a glass bubble, hearing all that is said around you but not being able to respond. Sound like an episode from the Twilight Zone? In this case, it was real.

Rom Houben_coma

Rom Houben – “locked in syndrome”

For 23 years Rom Houben was thought to be in a coma; however, it is now being learned that he was conscious the entire time. Rom Houben was misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state following a car accident. As it turns out, Houben could hear everything that was going on around him and he was trapped in his own body with no way of communicating. Rom Houben now communicates via computerized messages.

Rom Houben was misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state after a car crash left him totally paralyzed.

But, in actuality, he was trapped in his own body the whole time with no way of letting friends and family know he could hear every word they were saying.

The 46-year-old, who can now tap out computerized messages and read books on a device above his hospital bed, has revealed: “I screamed, but there was nothing to hear.”

Houben’s misdiagnosis was discovered by neurological expert, Dr. Steven Laureys, who fears there may be similar cases all over the world. In the socialized medicine, government takeover of health care debate going on with Obamacare, this should cause people to pause and think of what could occur in the future if costs are more important than care and individuals are not properly diagnosed.

Let this be a lesson to those that are so quick to pull the plug on a coma patient. Let this be a lesson to the drive and will of the human spirit. Are they really in a vegetative state … or are they screaming for help that they are there but we just can’t hear them.

Of course like any story like this, there are now skeptics that are doubting whether Houben is really conscious after all. What, some neurologists acting with skepticism from this story? Say it isn’t so. What would one expect when people are told they may be wrong and that they have misdiagnosed a patient? Maybe many patients! Why shouldn’t there be skeptics, there is much money to be gained or loss by the folks who wish to immediately call people vegetables and end their rehabilitative medical care and lives.

Posted November 27, 2009 by
Bizarre, Healthcare, World, WTF | 4 comments

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  • Comments

    4 Responses to “UNREAL: Rom Houben Trapped in Coma for 23 Years was Awake the Whole Time … Misdiagnosed being in a Vegetative State”

    1. St Stephen on November 27th, 2009 11:15 am

      I heard of this case.

      I know the circumstances wre different but it brought to mind Terry Schiavo. (http://www.terrisfight.org/pages.php?page_id=32)

      God does work in mysterious ways.

    2. Blogwizzard on November 27th, 2009 1:30 pm

      I hope this opens way to a new discussion about paliative care in hospitals and ppl under life-support aid care.

    3. flutter1 on November 29th, 2009 10:37 am

      I am very happy for Mr. Houben’s recovery, but the story reminds me of an episode of House called “Locked In” that co-starred Mos Def as a man who appeared to be comatose but could actually hear and feel everything that was going on around him.

    4. Rebecca on December 2nd, 2009 3:46 pm

      This poor man, how horrible it must have been for him. I would not want to live one day like that.

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