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September 7, 2006

Vegetative yet Conscious?

Topics: The Truth About PVS

Mary wrote about the the 23-year-old car-crash victim who had preserved conscious awareness despite her vegetative state:

A car crash severely injured the woman's brain, leaving her in a vegetative state. But British scientists found startling signs of awareness when they peered deeper into her brain: She seemed to hear and follow -- mentally -- certain commands.

This novel brain-scanning experiment, reported Thursday, is sure to elicit pleas from families desperate to know if loved ones deemed beyond medical help have brain activity that doctors didn't suspect.

Doctor's asked her to use her imagination and pretend that she was playing tennis.
The motor-control regions of her brain lit up, again just like they did in the healthy people
Of course, the article suggests the starvation/dehydration death of Terri Schiavo was justified because "an autopsy showed she had irreversible brain damage." Personally, I think as technology improves there will be many with misgivings over the decisions they made based upon their utilitarian view of human value and the quality of life. Not that technology is necessary to establish the intrinsic value of each person, apart from their capabilities.

Posted by tim at September 7, 2006 8:47 PM


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