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Monday, September 11, 2006

Awareness found in Vegatative Patients

--posted by Tony Garcia on 9/11/2006

(H/T: Terrance This Stuff Is Stupid)

Whoops.

Remember Terri Schiavo and the kill-her crowd kept saying she felt nothing, knew nothing and was "a vegetable"? They were for extermination.

Now it seems there must have been a mistake on that whole feel-nothing/know-nothing deal.
Advanced brain scanning uncovered startling signs of awareness in a woman in a vegetative state, British scientists reported Thursday - a finding that complicates one of medicine's ethical minefields.

The work is sure to elicit pleas from families desperate to know if loved ones deemed beyond medical help have brain activity that doctors don't suspect. "Can he or she hear and understand me?" is a universal question.
Yeah, the response is typical..."only one patient" and there's no agreement "on whether the woman had some real awareness".

But the point during the whole Schiavo case and each case since is that life is life and any shred of hope is enough to prevent extermination.

Oops.

3 Comments:

Blogger ThePete said...

I know brining this up is a can of worms, but Terriā€™s
Brain was half its normal size
and the arguement was made that this is what she wanted. I have known for a long time that in a case like this, my mother would want the same fate as Terri, kind of like "Do Not Resuscitate" orders.

Then there is that whole 'the law is the law' thing. If this guy was not guilty of beating her into a catatonic state... I just know that if it were me and I was in a 'no hope of getting better' turnip, I would not want my wife to foot the bill any longer.

September 12, 2006  
Blogger terrance said...

Pete,

Even if her brain was half its normal size does that mean we know for certain she didn't feel the pain even a dog would feel at being deprived of food and water?

I've heard reports that we use only a small part of our brain anyway. So, half the normal size is not the same as no brain function.

This study shows that what everyone thought was true about people in vegetative states does not apply to all. The haunting thought is: "Does what we thought we know apply to any people in vegetative states?" Maybe technology can help us figure that out even though the patients can't tell us.

Tony, thanks for following up on this.

September 14, 2006  
Blogger ThePete said...

I didn't say she didn't feel. I said she was a vegatable.

Its not that we "only use a small part of our brain" but "we don't use all that our brain is capable of."

Half the normal brain size doesn't mean no brain function, it means it is not enough brain function to support yourself, ask for help, blink 3 times together to signal that you want something... ect.

There is a certian line where an organ will not function. If you take out 50% of the heart, it will not support a human. Kidneys, sure... you have two of em. Liver, thats a unique organ in that it can re-grow to a point... the Brain however... Thats in the same boat as the heart.

I'll admit, we don't know much when it comes to how the Brain works... but we know enough to say that when 50% of it is gone... it no work.

September 15, 2006  

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