Kentucky Authorizes Euthanasia (2005)

KY Supreme Court decided that families of “permanently unconscious” patients may have their lives ended by removing their life support, even if a person had not declared a desire for this to happen. Persons in “persistent vegetative state” (still very open to interpretation) or when “inevitable death is expected by reasonable medical judgment within a few days” may be removed from “life support” without a court order unless there is “family disagreement”. [Dr. Willke, Rt to Life Greater Cincinnati,...

PVS & Ambien (2006)

We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state. But across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking … a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough. For three years, Riaan Bolton has lain motionless, his eyes open but unseeing. After a devastating car crash doctors said he would never again see or speak or hear. Now his mother, Johanna, dissolves a pill in a little water on a teaspoon and forces it gently into his mouth. Within half an hour, as if a switch has been flicked in his brain, Riaan looks around his home in the South African town of Kimberley and says, “Hello.” Shortly after his accident, Johanna had turned down the option of letting him die. Three hundred miles away, Louis Viljoen, a young man who had once been cruelly described by a doctor as “a cabbage”, greets me with a mischievous smile and a streetwise four-move handshake. Until he took the pill, he too was supposed to be in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state. Across the Atlantic in the United States, George Melendez, who is also brain-damaged, has lain twitching and moaning as if in agony for years, causing his parents unbearable grief. He, too, is given this little tablet and again, it’s as if a light comes on. His father asks him if he is, indeed, in pain. “No,” George smiles, and his family burst into tears. These awakenings have come as the result of an accidental discovery by a dedicated – and bewildered –...

Terri Schiavo’s Father Reacts (2006)

A 23-yr-old woman, supposedly in a “vegetative state” stunned doctors by responding to certain commands asked of her. The results have been displayed in brain imaging showing more is going on in her head than meets the eye. Although the unnamed woman can’t move or speak, she has responded to sentences spoken to her and even played an imaginary game of tennis in her head, her doctors say. The results have all been recorded on a brain scanner and show that disabled patients like Terri Schiavo or those who are comatose may be much more aware than they appear. Terri’s father, Robert Schindler, agrees and, in a statement, said the case shows more should have been done to save his daughter’s life and to listen to experts who said she wasn’t as bad off as her former husband made it appear. “This new case is not surprising to our family,” Schindler said. “We are seeing a growing amount of evidence indicating that the diagnosis of ‘Persistent Vegetative State’ (PVS) is often misdiagnosed, resulting in dangerous and potentially fatal consequences for people with brain injuries, as documented in this new account of a brain injured woman,” he explained. “The danger of the PVS diagnosis is that it is being used as a reason to kill innocent people with disabilities, like Terri,” her father added. “We believe that this PVS diagnosis is inhumane and it should be abolished.” [11Sept06, LifeNews.com] Under the leadership of neuroscientist Dr. Adrian Owen, the team of scientists from Cambridge University and the Belgian University of Liège applied MRI technology to discover that the brain activity of...

PVS and Ambien (2006)

We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state. But across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking … a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough. For three years, Riaan Bolton has lain motionless, his eyes open but unseeing. After a devastating car crash doctors said he would never again see or speak or hear. Now his mother, Johanna, dissolves a pill in a little water on a teaspoon and forces it gently into his mouth. Within half an hour, as if a switch has been flicked in his brain, Riaan looks around his home in the South African town of Kimberley and says, “Hello.” Shortly after his accident, Johanna had turned down the option of letting him die. Three hundred miles away, Louis Viljoen, a young man who had once been cruelly described by a doctor as “a cabbage”, greets me with a mischievous smile and a streetwise four-move handshake. Until he took the pill, he too was supposed to be in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state. Across the Atlantic in the United States, George Melendez, who is also brain-damaged, has lain twitching and moaning as if in agony for years, causing his parents unbearable grief. He, too, is given this little tablet and again, it’s as if a light comes on. His father asks him if he is, indeed, in pain. “No,” George smiles, and his family burst into tears. These awakenings have come as the result of an accidental discovery by a dedicated – and bewildered –...

19-Year-Old Recovers as Doctors Start to Harvest Her Organs (2012)

The world of organ donation in Denmark was in turmoil. A documentary was aired which showed family members reacting in anguish to the news that their 19-year-old daughter was brain dead after a car accident, agreeing to donate her organs and allowing doctors to turn off her respirator. About 1.7 million viewers tuned in to the heart-rending drama. But Carina Melchior did not die after her respirator was removed. She is now undergoing rehabilitation and may make a full recovery. About 500 people immediately removed their names from Denmark’s organ donor register. http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/20/19-year-old-recovers-as-doctors-start-to-harvest-her-organs/ [Comment: Another article on the subject said that after the documentary was shown, 500 people tore up their organ donor cards. N. Valko RN http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12771/20121018/danish-teen-wakes-dead-doctors-prepare-harvest.htm...