When I watched my aunt suffering with Alzheimer's, I thought that must be the worst condition to be in while still alive. To still know what and who you once were but feeling your mind slipping away and realizing you can't do a damn thing about it -- could anything be more horrible?
A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time.
Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them - but could make no sound.
'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,' said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.
Remember Karen Ann Quinlan? Hers was the first right-to-die case to make big news. After a long court fight, her parents finally won the right to unplug her from her "persistent vegetative state," but she lived on in her coma for 10 years after that. We don't know as much as we think we do about what goes on in the human brain, and not ackowledeging what we don't know puts us at risk of making the "right to die" and "death with dignity" rallying cries about us instead of the patients involved.