'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear': Man trapped in 23-year 'coma' reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious
By Allan Hall
Last updated at 2:58 PM on 23rd November 2009
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,' said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.
'I dreamed myself away,' he added, tapping his tale out with the aid of a computer.
'I dreamed myself away': Rom Houben, now 46, has told of the nightmare of being trapped in a paralysed body, unable to tell doctors that he was awake, for 23 years
Doctors used a range of coma tests before reluctantly concluding that his consciousness was 'extinct'.
But three years ago, new hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.
Mr Houben described the moment as 'my second birth'. Therapy has since allowed him to tap out messages on a computer screen.
Rom Houben: Patient trapped in a 23-year 'coma' was conscious all along | Mail Online