Scientists continue to communicate with people thought to be oblivious and without awareness. From the BBC story:
A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain. It’s the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care. Scott Routley, 39, was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. His doctor says the discovery means medical textbooks will need rewriting . . .
And here’s something that is fairly typical:
Scott Routley’s parents say they always thought he was conscious and could communicate by lifting a thumb or moving his eyes. But this has never been accepted by medical staff.
Time to start listening more to families!
People such as Routley are dehydrated to death every day in all fifty states and in many countries around the world by having their tube-supplied sustenance withdrawn — supposedly based on their lack of personhood. But don’t expect this to stop the dehydration imperative. Bioethicists will merely say this is even more reason to kill them since they are aware of their profound disabilities and suffering. Indeed, that argument has already started.
And of course, the media will insist — as they do nearly every time such stories hit the news — that it has nothing to do with Terri Schiavo. No, I will never let it go!