This is a disturbing story. Many who were thought to be in a vegetative state have actually a high level of awareness. Would you want to live or die if you were like this? Have you made your wishes known? Have you assigned a durable power attorney whom you trust to carry out your express wishes? Have you expressed your wishes to your next of kin?

BBC News - Paralysed Belgian misdiagnosed as in coma for 23 years

A Belgian man who doctors thought was in a coma for 23 years was conscious all along, it has been revealed.

Medical staff believed Rom Houben had sunk irretrievably into a coma after he was injured in a car crash in 1983.

The University of Liege doctor who discovered in 2006 that, although Mr Houben was paralysed, his brain was working, said the case was not unique.

Mr Houben 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."