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      CommentAuthorLeto
    • CommentTimeNov 23rd 2009
     (7284.1)
    From the guardian.co.uk

    Paralysed patient could not move or communicate with doctors until Belgian neurologist tested new brain scanner.

    "I had dreamed myself away," said Houben, now 46, whose real "state" was discovered three years ago and has just been made public by the doctor who rescued him.

    "I screamed, but there was nothing to hear," he said, via his keyboard.

    How's that for nightmare fuel?
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      CommentAuthorAlastair
    • CommentTimeNov 23rd 2009
     (7284.2)
    "Johnny got his gun" esque huh?

    also fuuuuuuuuuuuck
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      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 23rd 2009 edited
     (7284.3)
    "I had dreamed myself away." Real talk: how many of those dreams do think were elaborate sex fantasies he will never see fulfilled? Also he was left alone with his thoughts for 23 years, and then suddenly given a keyboard; what kind of feverish, isolationist novel might exist in this man. I would read it.
  1.  (7284.4)
    I am light-years far from being any kind of medical expert, but I can't help being appalled at the fact not a single doctor considered the possibility of the guy not being in a coma for twenty-three fucking years.
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      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 23rd 2009
     (7284.5)
    It is appalling but it is also entirely prevalent in the medical profession, like anything people make mistakes, and we should expect that, we should be prepared for the possibility. (not saying that we should accept it, we should always strive to be better) I remember reading a collection essays by doctors, talking about how common medical mistakes were, how often people die from them and how they deal with them. One essay stated that when the author was first in med school he was told that he would kill someone by the end of the year. My friend Nick read the essays at the same time as I did and had to go in for surgery on his arm soon after. He wrote NO in big bold capitals on the arm that did not need the operation. He was later told that whoever was prepping the arm for surgery got the wrong arm halfway prepped before noticing the word NO written on it in marker.
  2.  (7284.6)
    Hahaha, your friend is a smart person.

    And yes, people make mistakes, but this lasted twenty three years. It says he was discovered three years ago. They're revealing this now possibly because he spent the last three years yelling "YOU FUCKING MORONS" via his keyboard. I think it's only common sense that a man in a coma should constantly be checked on to make sure he is actually still in a coma.
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeNov 23rd 2009
     (7284.7)
    See, I order books for people for a living. Sometimes, mistakes happen - you get the old edition or the paperback instead of the hardcover. Sometimes, books get damaged in shipping or are just crappily made in the first place; printed upside down or in German. (I have a book on erotic massage, "misprinted" in German. German is not a very erotic language, strangely.)
    Sometimes, things get shipped in error, purchase orders get lost in someone's email or on somebody's desk, Ron in the warehouse is an asshole, whatever.

    Whatever your job is, mistakes happen. Doctors are no exception.

    I also would read that man's book.
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      CommentAuthorHayama
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.8)
    James Randi is stating that this is just a case of "Facilitated Communication" & not the guy actually communicating: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/783-this-cruel-farce-has-to-stop.html
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.9)
    Look who is moving the hand in that video. Is it the guy himself or the "facilitator" ?

    I think it's doubtful, but it shouldn't be too difficult to test it right? Just ask him a question and let him type the answer twice with two different facilitators who don't know the man (or the answer).
    • CommentAuthorcoffeemug
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.10)
    Medical blunders aside, this is freaking scary. I am dying to hear how this man did not end up totally insane having endured this for twenty years.
  3.  (7284.11)
    If only Dennis Potter were still alive.
    He would have raped that guy back to consciousness in no time!
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      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.12)
    Yeah I was just coming here to say that I watched some videos and this smells like bullshit. Facilitated communication has been debunked plenty of times.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.13)
    "Look who is moving the hand in that video. Is it the guy himself or the "facilitator" ?

    I think it's doubtful, but it shouldn't be too difficult to test it right? Just ask him a question and let him type the answer twice with two different facilitators who don't know the man (or the answer)."

    Even simpler, have the facilitator leave the room.

    Show the patient a picture.

    Have the facilitator re-enter the room and ask the patient to describe the picture.
    • CommentAuthorPhranky
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.14)
    Whatever your job is, mistakes happen. Doctors are no exception.

    I would say that perhaps ordering the wrong book is a tad less serious than say trapping a man in his own skull for 23 years or y'know... lobotomizing the wrong man.
  4.  (7284.15)
    I would say that perhaps ordering the wrong book is a tad less serious than say trapping a man in his own skull for 23 years or y'know... lobotomizing the wrong man.


    ... yeeeeah. Exactly.
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
     (7284.16)
    that might depend on the book
  5.  (7284.17)
    I'd like to point out that it was no medical mistake that prevented the doctors from finding out that the poor bastard was conscious but trapped inside his body. They simply didn’t have the technology to determine his level of brain activity in the first years after the accident, this kind of technology was only available in recent years. From the article: Using a state-of-the-art scanning system, Laureys found to his amazement that his brain was functioning almost normally.
    No medical mistake here, just the steady march of science pushing us forward.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2009
     (7284.18)
    So New Scientist says that the diagnosis is valid: Rom Houben really is conscious but paralyzed.

    However, they also agree that the "facilitator" is producing the written statements attributed to Houben.

    What's worse than being conscious but unable to move?

    Being conscious and unable to move while some well-meaning but delusional person uses you as a meat marionette.

    Then too there's a wide spectrum between a coma and full consciousness so we don't know if his awareness goes much beyond "light/dark" and "want potty".

    Regardless of the question of whether the messages attributed to him are real or not, neurologists have been warning for some years that there are a significant but unknown number of people in this state.

    I'm generally in favor of euthanasia in appropriate circumstances (like when three old ladies are walking ahead of me taking up the entire footpath and they won't speed up and they won't let me pass and they wander from side to side so I can't speed up to get past them - but I digress) but even for an atheist like me, this raises some worrying ethical questions.

    If we can't assess consciousness accurately can we decide to withdraw life support?

    Even if people are conscious but paralyzed, would they WANT to live like that?