The story of Martin Pistorius: Scientists have the first ‘conversation’ with a patient in a vegetative state
“Neuroscientists have come to believe that as many as 40 percent of those in a vegetative state have been misdiagnosed and may have had some form of consciousness after all.”
One case is the story of Martin Pistorius who contracted meningitis and tuberculosis of the brain, and fell into what appeared to be a comatose state when he was 12 years old. He spent 12 years in a comatose state before a carer realized he was aware, even though there were no outward signs to show it. He was finally able to express himself when he was given the opportunity to communicate with a technology that could recognize almost imperceptible head movements.
During his 12 years of being in a coma, he has been able to understand everything that was going on around him. He went through many years of intensive physiotherapy to regain control of his body and a number of operations to correct deformities caused by his spasticity. Martin slowly gained enough muscular control to sit in a chair upright unaided, and to use his hands to work his laptop and speech ‘grid’ system. Today, Martin is working as a website developer, be about to start a BSc in computer science, and is married.
For more of his story see: