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News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Parents' vigil ends in tragedy after mix-up in identities

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 15 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1410
  1. Bojan Pancevski
  1. Vienna

    An Austrian couple who kept a five month vigil beside the bed of a teenager in a coma who they thought was their son discovered he was a different person when he woke up and started speaking in a foreign language.

    In a bizarre mix-up, the couple's real son had actually been killed in a car crash and buried in the place of his Bosnian best friend, who had been travelling in the car with him. Each set of parents had apparently wrongly identified their sons, both of whom had severe injuries.

    The incident is similar to a case in the US state of Michigan last month, when the family of the victim of a car crash, Laura Van Ryn, 22, waited five weeks at the bedside of their comatose daughter only to realise when she awoke that she was their daughter's friend Whitney Cerak, 19. In the meantime their daughter had been buried …

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