A few months ago there was a large stir around a man who had been in a coma for 23 years who began communication by way of a facilitator who “helped” him type on an electronic keypad, letting the world now that he was conscious. Skeptics noted that this was exactly the same sort of thing that people were falsely claiming to do for severely autistic children, and that without more evidence there was no reason to believe this was legit. Sadly, this turned out to be the exactly the case:
Dr Steven Laureys, one of the doctors treating him, acknowledged that his patient could not make himself understood after all. Facilitated communication, the technique said to have made Houben’s apparent contact with the outside world possible, did not work, Laureys declared.
“We did not have all the facts before,” he said. “To me, it’s enough to say that this method doesn’t work.”