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September 10, 2006

Ridiculous Contradictions

Topics: The Truth About PVS

The recent case of a woman, diagnosed as being in a "vegetative state", and yet conscious and able to "play tennis in her head", reveals that experts can be wrong and that there is a lot that that even the best doctors can not tell about what is going on in another person's mind. Yet, recent articles assert:

Experts overwhelmingly agreed that the case, reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science, does not mean that many people in apparently vegetative states may in fact be conscious.
And also:
The neurologists agreed the British case was not relevant to the debate over Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who spent 15 years in a persistent vegetative state and was allowed to die in March 2005 after a long court battle.
Quite amazing considering the same article reports that a study, involving objective and repeatable observations, indicates the vegetative state diagnosis is in question:
Dr. James Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth medical school in New Hampshire and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said the study showed it is possible to make a mistake in diagnosing a patient as unconscious.

"What we don't know is how often you see this discrepancy between the physical exam findings and fMRI findings," Bernat said. "Is this one case in 1,000? Is it 1 in 10?"

Posted by tim at September 10, 2006 4:21 AM


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