... Car crash victim trapped in 'coma' for 23 years was conscious.
[excerpts from article] For 23 years Rom Houben was trapped in his own body, unable to communicate with his doctors or family. They presumed he was in a vegetative state following a near-fatal car crash in 1983.
But then doctors used a state-of-the-art scanning system on the brain of the martial arts enthusiast, which showed it was functioning almost normally.
"I screamed, but there was nothing to hear," he said, via his keyboard.
Houben then suffered years of being effectively trapped in his own body as care personnel and doctors at the hospital in Zolder tried to communicate with him, but eventually gave up hope that he would ever come round.
Experts say Laureys' findings are likely to reopen the debate over when the decision should be made to terminate the lives of those in comas who appear to be unconscious but might have almost fully-functioning brains.