He told us he was misdiagnosed…sorta

Let’s lay one thing out front and make it clear-doctors are human and will make mistakes.

We now continue with your regularly scheduled blog entry, already in progress

Ok, here’s the skinny.

Rom Houben had a car crash 23 years ago. That left him in a “persistent vegetative state”. A persistent vegetative state is a mixture of awake and coma, but not quite either. Usually, the higher functioning brain, responsible for voluntary actions is off, while the brainstem, responsible for involuntary action (heartbeat, breathing, digestion, etc.) remains fully functional. They may have their eyes open, they may “track” a moving object with their eyes, they may grunt, or other actions similar to consciousness, but they aren’t actually responding to stimuli.

So, snap back to reality. Rom has recovered. The details are somewhat sketchy, though. I’ve found that a PET was used to help doctors make the new diagnosis. A PET scan uses positrons (antimatter electrons) that annihilate electrons they come in contact with, to create a 3D image of what’s happening inside the brain.

So, I haven’t been able to figure out what EXACTLY happened to allow the doctors to reach their new conclusion, or even what they did to bring him out. That seems to remain hush-hush.

So, now he’s awake and communicating…I think. The reporting has been SO bad, I can’t tell exactly what’s happening. But, I can tell you this, he’s coming up with these eloquent, discriptive complex sentences…with the help of a faciliated communicator.


A Facilitated Communicator? Did we snap back to 1986? All the tests run on facilitated communications have been fogotten? Facilitated Communication is when a person, or faciliator, holds the hand of a person who cannot communicate alone, to convey a message. The thought is that the facilitator is just there to steady the hand, and person communicates. The problem is that it doesn’t happen like that. When the facilitator is blinded, and the keys are in non-standard places, such as the keyboard turned upside down, then the “communication” becomes incoherent combinations of letters. Not words, not sentances. This is evidence that the facilitator is communicating, not the one being facilitated.

I’m not sure where on the sliding scale of consiousness he is. I’m not sure if he’s really responding to stimuli, or doing something really similar to responding. If a doctors pinches him, then clocks the doctor, I’m convinced. If the keybard is rearranged, and the facilitator is blinded, and the sentences are still coherent, and eloquent, then I’m convinced.

Until then, I remain unconvinced. I question what state he’s in. I question what he remembers. I question his responses. And I question the reporting.

If you’d like to read more about this, please visit one of the following sites:

http://news.discovery.com/human/belgian-man-coma-consciousness.html – Discovery

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_belgium_coma_recovery – Yahoo

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