Monday, November 23, 2009

St. Rom

Rom Houben, a Belgian man who was injured in an auto accident in 1983, was thought to be in a vegetative state for 23 years, until a brain scan in 2006 revealed that he wasn't missing a trick. He's now communicating with the help of a special keyboard. The expression "patience of a saint" comes to mind, as do troubling memories of the case of Terri Schiavo, whose husband, Michael, had her taken off life support in 2005 on the assumption that she had no cognition. According to the doctor who revealed Houben's case in a scientific paper, 40% of those thought to be in a vegetative state really aren't.

As for Houben:

[He] said that at first he felt angry at his powerlessness, but eventually learned to live with it.

"Other people had an opinion of me," Mr Houben, now 46, told the BBC.

"I knew what I could do and what I was capable of but other people had a rather pathetic image of me. I had to learn to be patient and now finally we are on an equal footing."

Equal footing? I'd say he's selling himself short.

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