Monday, November 23, 2009

"My Second Birth"-Man Misdiagnosed as Being in Coma for 23 Years!

In a post on a similar story to the following, I said: "Doctors are wrong all the time, you never know what will happen in the future - whether it's a miracle or a medical advance - that could bring your loved one back to you..." Well, here's a coma case where the doctors were wrong and it was only with medical advances that a man was "reborn:"

Patient trapped in a 23-year 'coma' was conscious all along

Doctors used a range of coma tests, recognised worldwide, 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 describes the moment as 'my second birth'.

Therapy has since allowed him to tap out messages on a computer screen. ...

Mr Houben, a former martial arts enthusiast, was paralysed in 1983.

Doctors in Zolder, Belgium, used the internationally accepted Glasgow Coma Scale to assess his eye, verbal and motor responses.

But each time he was graded incorrectly.

Only a re-evaluation of his case at the University of Liege discovered that he had lost control of his body but was still fully aware of what was happening. ...

Dr Laureys's new study claims that patients classed as in a vegetative state are often misdiagnosed.

'Anyone who bears the stamp of "unconscious" just one time hardly ever gets rid of it again,' he said. ...

Supporters of euthanasia and assisted suicide argue that people who have lain in persistent vegetative states for years should be given the opportunity to have crucial medical support withdrawn because of the 'indignity' of their condition.

But there have been several cases in which people judged to be in vegetative states or deep comas have recovered. ...

Terri Schiavo was judged to be in a "persistent vegetative state" before she was starved to death. Who knows if the diagnosis was correct, if she could have recovered through therapy, or if new advances in science could have helped her? Cases like this reinforce my opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide - always err on the side of life and pray for a miracle, because they do happen.

Related posts:

Back from the dead

The Slippery Slope in Action