Skip to comments.Vegetative man tells doctors ĎIím not in painí via MRI communication
Posted on 11/14/2012 6:20:31 AM PST by NYer
More than 12 years after a car accident left him in a vegetative state, a Canadian man has begun communicating with doctors who are monitoring his brain activity through Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans.
The BBC reports that 39-year-old Scott Routley has been able to communicate to doctors that he is not in any pain, marking the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-damaged patient has been able to give direct answers regarding their care and treatment.
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind," British neuroscientist Adrian Owen told the BBC. "We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."
Owen leads a team at the Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario, which used MRI scans to measure responses from Routley.
Traditional tests have continued to indicate that Routley is in a vegetative state, with no relevant brain activity. Owen and other doctors say this means medical text books will literally need to be re-written when it comes to evaluating patients suffering from severe brain injuries.
Routley's previous neurologist said that for a decade all test results taken from scans of Routley's brain indicated he was not experiencing any mental activity.
"I was impressed and amazed that he was able to show these cognitive responses, said University Hospital's Bryan Young. "He had the clinical picture of a typical vegetative patient and showed no spontaneous movements that looked meaningful."
Owen says the results could lead to improved patient care for those living with severe brain injuries, making a major improvement in the daily of patients, including routine tasks such as when they prefer to be fed or bathed.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
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Remember Terri Schiavo
This shows that there is part of us that exists beyond physical consciousness. Have we stumbled upon the human soul?
“Remember Terri Schiavo”
Yeah, it’s a little late for her, and the bloodthirsty partisan murderers in Florida, and the Cowards Bush.
So, they will stop harvesting organs from “brain dead” patients immediately, correct?
“So, they will stop harvesting organs from brain dead patients immediately, correct?”
Except in China, of course.
I cannot imagine being trapped within only the confines of my thoughts and no way to tell the outside world I am in pain or any other discomfort.
Exactly what I was thinking.
A former classmate of mine made the decision to pull his wife off life support, just last night.
She had been brain dead for 5 days; and, apparently the doctors use 5 days as a measuring stick. They told him ‘it was time to make some decisions’.
He obviously loved her very much - he poured his heart out for 5 days on a blog like site called Caring Bridge. His wife’s mother and sister were there, when they ‘pulled the plug’, so I think they were in agreement.
I was astonished that 5 days seemd to be the limit...the point at which the doctors started pressuring him to remove her from the machines. But, I have no medical expertise whatsoever, and I assume the doctors know when there is ‘no chance’.
Then this article comes along...and I don’t know what to think.
doesn’t matter here. ObieCare ain’t gonna cover keeping the Vega Table folks alive.
Try 30 seconds, and the brain still functioning. My Dad went on a ventilator, and within 30 seconds a little RAT-FACED Dr with a foreign accent was telling me to pull the plug.
Dad was still awake, and able to communicate by squeezing our hands. Once for yes. Twice for no. I told rat face that he was not God, and he couldn’t possibly know how things would turn out. I demanded that the antibiotics be given time to work.
Death panels have been here for a while already.
Sad story. I’m sure this article would freak him out. I’d hate having to make that decision for my wife.
Yes and everyone will after this article gets more attention. That woman was much more animated than this patient. Murder! Murder!
May her husband burn in hell.
This will not sit well with the death panels!
In China, the State just says “You’re dead to me” and that is good enough.
In all reality doctors know very little about the brain. Medical tests are not reliable either, people showing severe effects of brain damage can have normal looking scans, and people with little effects can have scans that show a lot of damage.
It really is a world of mystery, and yet some doctors are willing to make huge decisions based on something they really don’t know about. It makes it very hard for family to make a decision as to care, though many families don’t know how little is really known about the brain.
There is a lot of research being done right now by the military and doctors working with the military because we have many who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They should ask him if he’s bored.
True, but on the other hand, you might be having a great dream and not have to worry about getting woken up in the middle of it.
Stories like this one vindicate my decision. .
“I assume the doctors know when there is no chance.”
I think that what doctors want people to assume. In reality, they have no more definitive answer than the rest of us as to whether or when people will recover from these traumatic brain injuries. They may have a general sense of the probabilities, but there is no way for them to accurately judge any specific case.
I avoid those arguments. I just tell people that I smoke, drink, and eat high-cholesterol foods. You don’t want my organs!
They didn’t even want any “extreme” measures for Terri only that she be given nutrition and hydration. What abominable people deny that to someone?
Note to anyone wanting to point out my selfishness. Don't bother. I was a donor till I read stories about how much is costs the insurance companies to cover these operations. Someone gets that money why shouldn't my family get some of it?
My problem is I don't have too many bad habits, I don't have any chronic ilnesses and I'm in top shape for my age. The people who take me to task know me too well. (But I should have used it on the libtard bimbo at the DMV. She registered me in as a donor against my wishes (and absent he consent form!). I made her back out my records and re-generate my license, which made her very unhappy.)
Maybe I should start drinking heavily. God knows I'd like to these days.
Well, it is mostly close family that argues with me. There is too much “it’s all good” thinking in my generation. Folks should be a LOT more paranoid.
At the huge per day cost of a critical care unit most insurance is totally gobbled up in 5 days. The hospital and doctors are more concerned about the money than the patient.
Take that, Felos, HINO and Greer!
This process can remove all doubt as to sentience of the “vegetative” one vs’s no personality response at all. It will make it easier to make decisions such as “pull the plug”...though in a lot of cases, folks who have “weathered” the initial storm or needing vent support are often vent weaned to just trach/collar O2 support with suctioning as needed with the patient breathing on his/her own but still in a coma/ semi comatose state. (many times a trach isn’t even needed as some patients have enough autonomic ability to cough and swallow with little air way management needed though they’ll still be Gastric tube fed)
“They accuse me of being heartless “
Just tell them if they mistakenly took your organs “too early”...you certainly would end up being “heartless”!
Why didn’t we think of this sooner! It is sooo simple: Ask qwuestions and have the aptient answer by thinking in various terms, such as a math equation for yes and colors for no. The brain activity changes based on the patients thoughts. Then ask known questions: Is your name Routley? Is your name Mary? Do you know that you are in a hospital? Do you think you are in a zoo? etc.
There must be some discernible boolean state they can read (and he can positively control). They ask him yes or no questions that he and they know the answers to (do birds fly? is the sky green?) to verify the communication. Then they can ask him other questions: “Do you want to continue to live?” “Do you like the massages the night nurse gives?”
The medical community gets it wrong again.
Good thing they decided to try to communicate with him instead of harvesting his organs.
will they be able to vote?
Indeed. Remember Terri Schiavo.
I was wondering the same thing, but based on some clues from a sidebar in the article, it looks like there is real communication:
"The patients were repeatedly asked to imagine playing tennis or walking around their home
"In healthy volunteers each produces a distinct pattern of activity, in the premotor cortex for the first task and the parahippocampal gyrus for the second
"It allowed the researchers to put a series of yes or no questions to severely brain-injured patients. A minority were able to answer by using the power of thought"
I am unfamiliar with all of these medical devices.
In this woman’s case, she collapsed suddenly, and CPR was administered to her for 40 minutes, before she regained a pulse.
Then she was taken to the ICU. I have no idea what machines were hooked up to her; but, she did not exhibit brain activity for 5 days. I don’t know if she needed a ventilator; but, I think she probably did, if there was no brain function.
And the brain function was what the discussion was about. Once they took her off whatever machine she was on, she died within minutes...so this wasn’t a case of a body able to breath without medical help, but only in need of somebody kind enough to ‘feed’ them.
I understand that doctors have to be blunt with patients and their families...and from the minute I heard about this 5 days ago, I was very worried that 40 minutes of cpr would be very bad for her brain...so I don’t doubt the doctors’ assessment that she was ‘brain dead’.
I am still astonished that 5 days seems to be the threshold they use. And I was amazed that it all happened in one day yesterday. In the early afternoon they had the discussion with the doctor about pulling the machines off...and at 6:30 pm, they did the deed. I would have pleaded for ‘just one more day’ after having the initial discussion.
Anyway, I hope my old classmate steers clear of this article, or he’ll have second thoughts for the rest of his life (or even more than he’ll already have).
Look, I don't give a damn' what you think about Obama-Care - but try having a modicum of respect for those of us who've had to deal with this issue in real life. There's no call for "Vega Table folks." That's disgusting and disrespectful.
Yep. ‘fraid so. Unresponsive but registered to vote for Obama.
Since we haven't seen the real data from the experiment, we can't really say. Maybe the difference between the two patterns is as persuasive as having a traffic light rigged up to the patient's brain. If the doctors publish their exact protocol in a peer-reviewed journal, other scientists and doctors will have an opportunity to propose alternate explanations for the data, if any are possible.
You could say that one weak hand squeeze is meaningful and another is just an involuntary reflex. Same for blinking.
It's an awful, awful decision one has to make and will likely have second doubts about it for the rest of your life. The only thing you can gain comfort from is knowing that another critically ill child or adult and their respective families will be given a second chance at life thru the harvested organs.......
My younger brother, then 38, was critically injured in a car accident back in 1998 while on business in California. He laid in a coma for a week before the decision was made. We were told that approximately 35 people would be the beneficiaries of his death....I just wish they could have know what a wonderful kid he was.
Quick, kill him before he communicates again!
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