Mom: Son in coma heard everything for 23 years

From the AP newswire:

BRUSSELS – A mother says her son has emerged from what doctors thought was a vegetative state to say he was fully conscious for 23 years but could not respond because he was paralyzed.
Rom Houben had a car crash in 1983 and doctors thought he had sunk into an apparent coma. Still, his family continued to believe their son was conscious and had sought further medical advice.
Dr. Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse said Houben’s mother finally met Belgian expert Steven Laureys, who realized that the medical diagnosis for her son was wrong. Laureys then taught Houben how to communicate through a special keyboard.

Makes you wonder how many people who have been declared to be in a “persistent vegetative state” actually overheard discussions of removing them from food and water but were helpless to say, “Hey! I’m still here!”

Horrifying to contemplate.