Vegetative Patients Are Still Aware
It has been lately proven that some unresponsive patients kept alive with the help of medical equipment and thought to be in a vegetative state are still aware on some level. Scott Routley, a brain-damaged Canadian man thought to be in a vegetative state for about 10 years, was able to give answers to direct questions like “Are you in pain?” to doctors via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The British neurologist Bryan Young says that these striking results will mean that the entire medical community will be compelled to reevaluate its approach to patients in a vegetative state. One more vivid example is the case of one patient from Belgium injured in a car accident and considered to be in a vegetative state for nearly seven years. The scientists asked the patient to imagine one particular physical action for “yes” and another physical action for “no.” and in such a way were able to communicate with the man and confirm his awareness by testing his responses to his own biographical details. Therefore, some question may arise: what is it like to be motionless and unable to communicate for years on end while conscious of your living state? Is keeping patients alive in such a trapped existence humane? The BBC report regarding the new brain research developments can be seen in the video below.
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