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Science

Vegetative State Man 'Talks' By Brain Scan 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the fleet-captain-pike-would-be-proud dept.
c0lo writes "'Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn't spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).' Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative. 'Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.' As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr. Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative. Functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it's quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient's bedside. Phillip K. Dick's world is one step closer."
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Vegetative State Man 'Talks' By Brain Scan

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  • Must be pretty boring to be conscious but unable to do anything at all.
    • I'm pretty sure that I read a book about that, and the title was "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"...

      • That was a computer, though, wasn't it? Harlan Ellison? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

        The story depressed the hell out of me, I and feel really bad for the guy. I'd be trying to wire him up to the TV remote or a web browser next just so he can get some entertainment.

      • by todrules (882424) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:34PM (#41986227) Journal
        Also a song - "One," by Metallica.
      • Re:Must be boring. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:14PM (#41986611) Journal

        http://pub.psi.cc/ihnmaims.txt [pub.psi.cc]

        Maybe if you're considering Mr. Routely, the man in the article, to be similar to the AM computer from the story. The human protagonist has that thought ("I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream") at the end of the story, but I think what makes that story great was that it really describes the computer. It becomes intelligent, butit's just a world-spanning computer. It has consciousness, but no real purpose, drive or desires, and that's what drives it mad. I find that whole concept really intriguing, because we see a lot of "machines taking over the world" stories in which humans are eliminated because they're considered "inefficient" or simply because the cold, calculating machine sees no value in human life as the machines have no emotions (skynet), but in IHNMAIMS, the computer very much has emotions, it's just that it's hateful. So, instead of humans being eliminated by a machine of cold, cruel logic, they're eliminated and/or tortured by a sadistic machine driven by hatred. Really interesting.

      • I'm pretty sure that I read a book about that, and the title was "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"...

        There is another book although he isn't vegetative just trapped in his body, called 'Johnny Got His Gun'.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Got_His_Gun [wikipedia.org]

    • Must be pretty boring to be conscious but unable to do anything at all.

      Shades of _Johnny Got His Gun_, by Dalton Trumbo.

    • Re:Must be boring. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:23PM (#41988177) Journal

      And I'm sure if the guy could communicate more than yes/no he would be saying "Kill me" over and over and over.

      this to me is the truly scary part of technology, how they can make someone a "head in a box" for all intents and purposes and leave you going for years trapped in some grey nothing (that is what one girl who awakened from a coma described it as, a grey room with nothing, no sounds, no doors, just a grey room...trapped forever with no concept of time) with no way to escape...fuck that, put a bullet in my brain, smother me with a pillow, OD me on morphine, don't leave me trapped in some grey hell for eternity.

      • Re:Must be boring. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by migloo (671559) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:17AM (#41989655)
        "And I'm sure if the guy could communicate more than yes/no he would be saying "Kill me""

        Well, he could answer "yes" to the question "do you want us to kill you?",
        and "no" to the question "do you want to live a little longer?".

        Locked-in syndrome is to me the most terrifying end I can conceive.
      • by Krneki (1192201)

        Obligatory South Park joke

        Doctor: Hi Bob, I have a question for you, do you want us to terminate your life? One blip for yes, two blips for no.
        Bob: Blip blip
        Doctor: Double yes. Thanks Bob, see ya tomorrow.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Can you recall any details about who gave the account? I would be curious to read more of this person's description.
  • I'm loath to ask: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:58PM (#41985849)
    Will they ask him if he wants to die?
    • by Antipater (2053064) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:07PM (#41985929)
      *beep beep* "Yes, yes? I knew it. Euthanize him, boys!"
      • I'm uncomfortably reminded of the Facilitated Communication scam, except replacing holding their hand with an fMRI scanner. I'd hope no one dies based on cutting edge research into interpreting brain scans.
        • by jamesh (87723)

          I'm uncomfortably reminded of the Facilitated Communication scam, except replacing holding their hand with an fMRI scanner. I'd hope no one dies based on cutting edge research into interpreting brain scans.

          I'm more worried about someone being unnecessarily kept alive and hogging all those delicious organs...

          • by fyngyrz (762201)

            Are you in need of some fava beans? Perhaps a nice Chianti?

    • by pwizard2 (920421) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:19PM (#41986069)
      Being kept alive in that condition (where you are conscious but are essentially trapped in your own body) is unimaginably cruel. I for one would rather die.
      • I for one would rather die.

        How lucky you are; if you are laid low as Scott has been you won't have to wait a decade to tell anyone.

      • Re:I'm loath to ask: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:52PM (#41986385) Homepage Journal

        Not me. Keep me going. I would rather be bored then dead. They might be able to cure me someday.

        In the mean time please leave the TV on. maybe get an EKG machine that lets me interface with a computer.

        You sir, are a quitter.

        • Re:I'm loath to ask: (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pwizard2 (920421) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:16PM (#41986629)
          You're assuming quite a bit. What if the parts of your brain that process visual/audio data are damaged and don't work anymore? Just how useful would TV be in that situation? Think about it... you would be trapped in a dark abyss entirely inside your head, unable to see or hear any stimulus. Even if people come to visit you, you would never know because you couldn't see or hear them. Yes, death would be preferable.
          • by adolf (21054)

            Yes, death would be preferable.

            Perhaps. But would you be able to tell the difference?

          • by evilviper (135110)

            What if the parts of your brain that process visual/audio data are damaged and don't work anymore?

            That isn't the case for this man. He is apparently acquiring information from after his accident (unless this experiment is biased and the conclusions are all crap, but that's a different discussion).

            you would be trapped in a dark abyss entirely inside your head, unable to see or hear any stimulus

            Purgatory? Solitary confinement? Depending on your philosophy, a few years of that may be preferable to death. A

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:29AM (#41988763)

            Think about it... you would be trapped in a dark abyss entirely inside your head

            Happened to me once. So I separated the darkness from the light. And the darkness I called night and the light I called day. After that I made up all kinds of stuff. Useless but entertaining.

          • Of course, you can always make things worse theorizing but in this case, they guy can read and now also answer.

            In a civilized country, he would just get an MRI machine since that is what he needs and we can affords it with our means. Oh wait, that is communism right. Yeah, the Romney thing is to let him suffer because euthanasia also isn't allowed.

            It is not like providing a 2 million dollar/euro machine for every vegetative person is going to break any countries economy.

            • by jythie (914043)
              They seem to have scraped up the cash for useless multi-million dollar machines to scan people at airports... yeah.. I suspect most 1st world nations could afford a bunch of fMRIs for coma patients.
            • by readin (838620)

              Of course, you can always make things worse theorizing but in this case, they guy can read and now also answer.

              In a civilized country, he would just get an MRI machine since that is what he needs and we can affords it with our means. Oh wait, that is communism right. Yeah, the Romney thing is to let him suffer because euthanasia also isn't allowed.

              It is not like providing a 2 million dollar/euro machine for every vegetative person is going to break any countries economy.

              Can we afford it? An MRI machine costing thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars for every patient in a vegetative state, plus staff to maintain it and to interpret the results. I suppose we have the resources to do it if we made that our top priority, but at what cost? Is the MRI machine for one person more valuable than buying an ambulance for a small town (might save a few lives with that ambulance)? Is the MRI machine for one person more valuable than a school lunch program for an inner city ele

          • However, this implies that you wouldn't be able to receive _any_ stimuli.

            I don't think it's too far-fetched to assume that, if we're soon to be able to reliably "read" brain signals from people who're so totally trapped, we'll also soon see true direct machine-to-mind communication. I.e. being able to inject stimuli directly into the parts of the mind that process basic awareness -- the holy grail of virtual reality.

            That, of course, means that, as Scott Adams said, "the holodeck will be humanity's last inv

          • by jythie (914043)
            Maybe, maybe not. Time in a dark abyss is a lot of time to one's self, and to some that might be more heaven then hell.
        • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:12PM (#41987165)

          We have put MTV on for you. Are you happy now or would you rather die?

        • by BitterOak (537666)

          In the mean time please leave the TV on.

          Depending on what channel it's set to, that could be a fate far worse than death.

        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          At what cost to society? Or do you have enough personal savings to hire an engineer create that device, have a dedicated EKG machine, a hospital room, and a staff to maintain your body?

          (P.S. I'm not really sure if you were serious or not, but either way it makes for good discussion)

      • Absolutely. If I end up in a vegetative state, use me for parts and move on with your lives.

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        I definitely agree now, and as a default, I want that assumed. However, If possible, I would like the opportunity to be asked, especially if there was a chance to be a part of research into people in my condition to potentially make communication easier or even computer interface possible, which could totally change the equation.... even if just for a little while.

        Though, in some ways the only place you ever are is in your mind, I could see it being a totally different experience for some people. I can't im

      • Kill me, please (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:02PM (#41987101) Homepage Journal
        I have a legal document that tells my family to pull the plug in such a case. I don't care who thinks I'm a "quitter".
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I've had trauma surgeons tell me that advance directives/living wills are very frequently overridden by family.

          It makes sense, in a degenerate way: the docs and the hospital have better things to do than sue families to get them to follow their invalid family member's advance directive document. It would be a PR disaster, and it's just easier to leave a patient as a full code on a vent rather than fighting a family willing to attempt to get an injunction from a court.

          Basically, what I was told was that thes

      • Being kept alive in that condition (where you are conscious but are essentially trapped in your own body) is unimaginably cruel. I for one would rather die.

        I totally agree with you there. I've actually said the thing multiple times to all my relatives and acquaintances; I do not ever wish to be confined to my own body, without ever being able to so much as move my arm. I'd much rather die and donate my organs to someone else who actually wishes to live.

        • by hene (866198)
          So you rather die then spend time with yourself and with your imagination? I don't know what level of brain activity works here, but I would like to twist this view point to the angle where this state is much more close the living then most people do in their life time. Everybody now days runs away from experiencing life itself doing anything but have to spend time with their own mind.
          • So you rather die then spend time with yourself and with your imagination?

            I already spend time with my imagination, but I don't want to be confined inside my own imagination. A huge difference.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Someone save this post. His family might need it later.

      • by hene (866198)
        I spend lots of time in meditation. When my busy mind gets still it's not terrible at all, actually quite enjoyable state. So it is pretty much depends how you want to experience it. If you freak out it might be terrible, but if you are able to accept it.. it might not be so cruel at all.
    • Most of the time they just kill them without asking.

      • by Golddess (1361003)
        Usually just by pulling the plug on whatever machine is keeping them alive, right? Makes me wonder how much hunger (either of air or food) he and others like him are capable of feeling...
    • by quantaman (517394)

      I've heard the researcher interviewed, and while they've considered this question they're not ready to ask it.

      Even assuming you can ensure the answer is reliable, and the patient is competent (he's still brain damaged), euthanasia is a very delicate subject.

  • Sounds like a match. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:58PM (#41985853)
    Sounds like a great use for something like this. [slashdot.org] But, have fun getting insurance to cover it...
  • EEG == $75k? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium.yahoo@com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:59PM (#41985867)

    How does one charge $75,000 bucks for something that can be found in the land of open source?

    http://openeeg.sourceforge.net/buildeeg/ [sourceforge.net]

    • by suutar (1860506)
      Because one can get that much from hospitals that can't use the open source one because it's not certified?
    • Re:EEG == $75k? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:12PM (#41985985) Homepage Journal
      75K seems a good amount for taking something that could be done in Open Source and making it safe, reliable, and repeatably measurable for use in a hospital.

      Sure, we can get these things to cost $5000 like a good hearing aid. But I'm not sure that version is going to be used to make the final assessment of whether there is a living person in a locked-in patient or not.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        75K seems a good amount for taking something that could be done in Open Source and making it safe, reliable, and repeatably measurable for use in a hospital.

        Sure, we can get these things to cost $5000 like a good hearing aid. But I'm not sure that version is going to be used to make the final assessment of whether there is a living person in a locked-in patient or not.

        Developmental costs of 75,000 seem unlikely to suffice. Factor of 10, maybe, but most likely to get such a device
        certified you are talking 7.5 million.

        After that, per unit cost depends solely on the parts involved, and these are pretty cheap. Knocking them
        out for 5grand seems entirely possible.

        You can buy a Defibrillator [amazon.com] on Amazon.com for a thousand bucks, with no license, training, or certification for use. And it is designed to generate potentially life ending voltages.

        There is nothing unsafe about EE

        • EEGs are just sensitive amplifiers. They aren't hard to make [avenhaus.de], lots of engineering classes have made them in one form or another.

          Data collection and interpretation are other matters entirely.

          • by icebike (68054) *

            EEGs are just sensitive amplifiers. They aren't hard to make [avenhaus.de], lots of engineering classes have made them in one form or another.

            Data collection and interpretation are other matters entirely.

            That information is implicit in this thread.

            But you are not going to bring home brew medical devices into a hospital in anything but the most backward of third world countries.
            Certifying such a device for hospital use will take years and money. Just ask the people who already supply these things to hospitals.

            This subthread is about making a life-support decision based on such a tool.

        • Yes, I meant 75K per sold device not for the entire development cost.

          Unfortunately, right now you might have to allocate tens of Millions to such a company just to operate the patent defense. Never mind that this was a vacuum tube device. There are current patents on computer implementations.

    • I assume that there is a slice of the 'sold as a medical device' premium; but that you start looking at a considerable premium if you make greater demands on the sensitivity and precision of the device. If you are hunting signals down into microvolt amplitudes, and don't want to get out your good bone saw, I suspect that a $2 op-amp doesn't always cut it.

      How can Agilent sell $15k oscilloscopes when you can download Arduino firmware with oscilloscope functions for free? Sensitivity, sample rate, features, pr

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Once again,. someon on /. has no clue baout how the world actually wqorks.

      They need to pay people.
      It needs to get certified.
      Maintained
      Tested regularly,
      be durable.
      make a profit.

      So, yeah shit cost money and time.
      Now, if I had someone I knew in that state and I couldn't get one through the hospital, I would build on to bring with me. It wouldn't be a medical device.

  • by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:00PM (#41985877) Homepage

    If even a small percentage of people suffering with "Locked-in" Syndrome [wikipedia.org] are reachable it will be a major win. Think "Johnny Got His Gun" or "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" for cinematic examples of "Locked-in" Syndrome.

    • Johnny could at least nod out Morse code if I recall.

      There was an episode of House like this. A "ocked in" guy was hooked up to sensors, and he had to teach himself to think certain ways to move a pointer on a computer screen so he could at least give yes and no responses.

  • Morse Code (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt.Albatross (1301561) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:18PM (#41986047)
    While watching "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", it occurred to me that knowing morse code would give you the best chance of communicating from this frightening state.
  • Big win for the London, Ontario area, not to mention UWO, who also recently announced good news on HIV vaccine tests.
  • fMRI has problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by capedgirardeau (531367) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:23PM (#41986713)

    fMRI has problems and is very subject to interpretation, misuse and manipulation.

    For example the now classic dead fish fMRI tests:
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/fmrisalmon/ [wired.com]

    I am very skeptical of this until it has been repeated, tested and evaluated in other settings by different researchers.

    For some reason when reading the story, it really reminded me of "facilitated communication" which is a terrible, cruel scam non-communicative and vegetative or near vegetative state people are subject to. I realize this is different, but really not very different.

    • Re:fMRI has problems (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chuckstar (799005) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:47PM (#41986969)

      You also have to be careful when thinking about this due to the different conditions that could all be lumped into "vegetative states".

      Someone with localized damage could appear vegetative, but really just be "locked in". In other words, they could have a largely intact brain, except for key regions blocking movement/communication. They would appear vegetative, but actually be able to react in ways that would show up in fMRI. This research could prove to be valid in such cases.

      Someone like Teri Shiavo, though, is a whole different story. Her brain was so damaged that most of it was simply gone (damaged material is cleared out by the immune system). She mostly had a big empty cavity in her head filled with fluid. It's unlikely that fMRI would show any response in such a case. And even if it did, with that much damage it would be impossible to make any guess as to what that activity might mean.

  • This work might also have implications for non-verbal autistic people, who historically were presumed to be severely retarded.

  • False positive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xlsior (524145) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:19PM (#41987227) Homepage
    Just because they got results, doesn't mean that there's any conscious thought going on.

    Case in point: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/fmrisalmon/ [wired.com]
    "So, as the fish sat in the scanner, they showed it “a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations.” To maintain the rigor of the protocol (and perhaps because it was hilarious), the salmon, just like a human test subject, “was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.”

    The salmon, as Bennett’s poster on the test dryly notes, “was not alive at the time of scanning.”

    If that were all that had occurred, the salmon scanning would simply live on in Dartmouth lore as a “crowning achievement in terms of ridiculous objects to scan.” But the fish had a surprise in store. When they got around to analyzing the voxel (think: 3-D or “volumetric” pixel) data, the voxels representing the area where the salmon’s tiny brain sat showed evidence of activity. In the fMRI scan, it looked like the dead salmon was actually thinking about the pictures it had been shown."
  • Both the BBC and the Star articles claims this is a first. But it's not [slashdot.org].
    • by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:59PM (#41988357) Homepage Journal

      Actually, the BBC gave a link to the NEJM article. What have they done with those 5 patients since then?

      http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0905370 [nejm.org]
      Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness
      Martin M. Monti, Ph.D., Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse, M.Sc., Martin R. Coleman, Ph.D., Melanie Boly, M.D., John D. Pickard, F.R.C.S., F.Med.Sci., Luaba Tshibanda, M.D., Adrian M. Owen, Ph.D., and Steven Laureys, M.D., Ph.D.
      N Engl J Med 2010; 362:579-589
      February 18, 2010
      DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905370

      Results

      Of the 54 patients enrolled in the study, 5 were able to willfully modulate their brain activity. In three of these patients, additional bedside testing revealed some sign of awareness, but in the other two patients, no voluntary behavior could be detected by means of clinical assessment. One patient was able to use our technique to answer yes or no to questions during functional MRI; however, it remained impossible to establish any form of communication at the bedside.

      Conclusions

      These results show that a small proportion of patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state have brain activation reflecting some awareness and cognition. Careful clinical examination will result in reclassification of the state of consciousness in some of these patients. This technique may be useful in establishing basic communication with patients who appear to be unresponsive.

      • What have they done with those 5 patients since then?

        however, it remained impossible to establish any form of communication at the bedside.

        Sounds like all they've done is frustrate the hell out of them, but I hope I'm wrong.

  • by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot&krwtech,com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:00PM (#41988021) Journal
    Back in 1998, my dad had a brain aneurysm (his second, the first was a ruptured brain aneurysm when he was a teenager that he survived without any impairment othe than an aneurysm clip on his left carotid arterty) that required a coil embolization (a new technique at the time, he was the 7th patient they had done at this hospital). After placing the coils, a clot broke free resulting in a stroke. He was recovering well and was almost fully functional, when two weeks later when he developed hydrocephalus, so they placed a ventriculostomy to relieve the pressure. Two days after that while doing a CT to check the placement of the catheter, they found an infection in his brain stem (later to also note that he had developed a left ear infection), which required a craniotomy. That resulted in him being in a coma and on a ventilator.

    The only directive he had ever given me was that he didn't want to live on a machine... That ventilator weighed heavily on me. The doctors told me that he had three days to come out of his coma or he probably never would. In an effort to try to get any type of response out of him, they would twist his nipples so hard that they bled. My sister's 14th birthday was on day 5 of the affair and I decided that there was a difference between living on a machine and recovering from a serious incident for a few days. If he didn't come out of the coma, I would pull him off the ventilator on day 7 - just in case he hung on, I didn't want him to die on my sister's birthday.
    He woke up on day 3 and ended up on the ventilator for about a week. It was that incident that finalized his brain damage, Essentially, he was a 41 year old that lost the entire top half of the right side of his brain. He wasn't moving his left side at all, he wasn't able to talk well, his short term memory was totally gone, he couldn't even sit up without falling over and could barely swallow a pureed and thickened diet. After 2.5 months of trying to get him stable enough to leave, he went to rehab where he stayed for another 2.5 months.

    After rehab, he came home to live with me... and he regained almost all of his mental faculties. He could walk with assistance, having regained most of the major muscle control in his left leg, but his primary long term deficits were the loss of his left arm and the neglect of the left side of his field of vision. The kicker? He remembers every word that was said to him while he was in a coma. The doctors can't believe that the person they see corresponds to the brain imaging that they're looking at... while they expect that amount of plasticity in a younger individual, it's extremely rare in an adult. Needless to say, he was pretty happy with his life, though he faced the usual depression and whatnot that comes with such a significant change in his lifestyle.

    Fast forward to this year... he had mastoiditis in the same ear as that infection back in 1998 and took two courses of antibiotics to get rid of it. Five months later, he went blind and started exhibiting stroke symptoms. I took him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with an abscess in his occiptal lobe (visual cortex) that penetrated the ventricles, causing ventriculits. To do imaging and a lumbar puncture, they ended up needing to sedate him and he ended up on a ventilator. Broad spectrum antibiotics (flagyl, vancomycin, and ceftriaxone) were started that night. A week in, he was, once again, no longer responding to pain.

    Once again, I was stuck with confronting my father being on a ventilator and essentially in a coma. Once again, the doctors came through telling me that the odds of survival weren't very good and that, given the previous brain damage to the other side of his brain, now that both sides were involved and with little reserve brain left, he almost certainly wouldn't recover.... but there was still a chance that, if I stopped treatment, he could survive, though it wasn't likely. I decided that my dad would want the only option that gave him any chance of an outcome worse than death, so I co
    • People say easily "I would want to die if I was like that" but when you are like that... quality of life is not hard set. When you get older, you know you are going downhill one way or another. Ask a youngster who says he rather be dead then in a wheelchair how he feels about a walker. To most young people, old age is a horror but when you get there, you find that there is more to live then perfect health. Would you want to see your grandchild even if both of you were in diapers? That is real life.

      I can re

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Thanks for sharing your story and good luck your father, you and your family.

      My father suffered a severe stroke in 1994 (He was 46) which caused his heart to stop numerous times. He was comatose for 2 weeks and doctors told my mother there was too much brain damage from the lack of oxygen due to the multiple heart failures. My mother and grandparents could not bear the thought of pulling the plug. He came out with severe brain damage and was said not to be in a vegetative state but in an altered state. He w

  • He must be in severe pain. Unless his injuries have left him with no ability to feel his body, he would likely be in agony.

  • (*in Morse code*) "Kill me....Kill me...Kill me...."

    Johnny Got His Gun

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Got_His_Gun_(film) [wikipedia.org]
  • the fact that so many people are kept alive like this and live for years unable to do anything; or the fact that many of the people like this that were allowed to die may have wanted to go on and wait for a breakthrough, that they may have been aware that they were dying...

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