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Court guardian to decide man's fate
CNN via AP ^ | September 1, 2003 | CNN

Posted on 09/08/2003 8:35:22 PM PDT by MarMema

Edited on 04/29/2004 2:03:06 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (AP) -- Jerry Childress says his 26-year-old son's pulse and blood pressure jump on hospital monitors from the sound of a familiar voice or the roar of a NASCAR race on television.

Jason Childress simply needs time to heal from massive brain damage that left him in a vegetative state, his father believes.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: euthanasia; schiavo

Jerry and Katrina Childress are at odds with other family members over the fate of his son, Jason, who is in a vegetative state.

1 posted on 09/08/2003 8:35:23 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: conservonator; sandyeggo; sitetest; ventana; pram; Polycarp; katnip; Salvation; Theodore R.; ...
Ping. Continue to let me know if you want on or off of the euthanasia ping list I am developing.

Prayers for Jason!!!

2 posted on 09/08/2003 8:39:13 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: BlackElk; Ragtime Cowgirl
Read carefully here...

"Less than a quarter of a percent of patients that are truly in vegetative states, which means he's like this after three months, recover to the point of being able to do things for themselves," said Bullock, who is not involved in Childress' care.

Autonomy is the new "god" in this country. Death is better than being disabled or taking a long time to recover if you won't be "able to do things" for yourself.

3 posted on 09/08/2003 8:47:49 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: All
letter here

"C" word used here

"An Albemarle Court has appointed a retired Charlottesville judge as guardian for Jason Childress. He'll decide whether the 26-year-old should remain on life support.

For nearly a month, Childress has been in a coma at UVA Medical Center following a car crash. His father wants to keep him alive but his mother a nurse wants to end the life support. Both sides say they will accept the guardian's decision.

"I will be willing to live with it because I think he will be fair. I think he will be fair because Jason is showing improvement," said Jason's grandmother, Leah Childress.

The guardian will look over the medical records and conduct interviews to help him make the decision.

4 posted on 09/08/2003 8:57:44 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: MarMema
The father here understands that recovery after a brain injury can be a long, long process. He also knows that if someone who loves that patient pushes very aggressively, miracles can happen.

Hope you don't mind my re-posting the story of actress Patricia Neal, who suffered three massive strokes and was left unable to speak or to even understand speech.

It's long, but it's an heroic story. IF it hadn't been for Neal's husband, Roald Dahl, pushing her to recover, she might never had made it. (Dahl and Neal did eventually divorce, but during Neal's recovery Dahl was truly dedicated to her.)

Here's the story:

In late February 1965, this shocking newspaper headline flashed around the world: "Film Actress Patricia Neal Dies from Stroke at 39."

[But Neal was not dead]...a congenital aneurysm had burst in her brain. After the operation, Neal showed no sign of coming out of her coma.

Three weeks later, she was finally able to gently squeeze her husband’s hand. “That was the first bit of hope that I would actually survive,” says Neal.

As Neal regained consciousness, she was horrified to discover she couldn’t speak or understand conversation. She was seeing double and she was totally paralyzed on her right side.

...“I was a divine patient…until I got home,” says Neal. “It was only then that I realized how utterly debilitated I was...”

Like a toddler, she had to learn to speak and walk. And the feelings of alienation and worthlessness were devastating. “I found myself hating the doctor who saved my life, hating God, my husband and hating myself for hating."

Neal and her husband found there was a life-saving utility to her rage. “We’re all made up differently, but my anger stirred my resolve to get better.

“Patients see that I’m not perfect. I don’t walk well, can’t see out of the side of my right eye... but I’m still up and around...”

I have to credit my now ex-husband Roald for really shoving me into my rehabilitation,” says Neal. “He used my anger to push and push and push me to work my body and my mind with the help of various therapists.”

While Neal was still pregnant, the family moved back to England. Her therapy continued... By then, though, the initial fuel of her rage had burned out, and what Winston Churchill called “the black dog of depression” began to claw menacingly at her door.

"What was hurting me most was that I had lost my place in my children’s lives,” says Neal. So Neal’s husband devised an informal system and schedule that kept Neal’s body and mind occupied every minute of everywaking day. “Neighbors and friends were constantly with me,”says Neal, “walking, cooking, playing board games to help my coordination and other activities that would force me to try speaking even the most simple words.”

Then Lucy Neal Dahl was born at 8:23 a.m. August 4, 1965 —169 days after Neal’s stroke...

Even with that joyful and uneventful birth, the fangs of Neal’s depression wouldn’t let go. “It was even more apparent to me after Lucy was born that I didn’t consider myself a competent homemaker or mother — but the lessons for my recovery carried on."

Her speech and reading continued to improve slowly. “I described everything as either ‘very good’ or ‘evil.’ That’s what a great conversationalist I was at the time,” says Neal.

...A new person was about to cross her threshold and prove that Neal could accomplish more than she could ever dream. “Valerie Eaton-Griffith suddenly came into my life, and we began to work together,” says Neal. “She was brilliant in the mind, and I, clearly, was not.

”A special bond quickly developed between the two. “We’d playbridge and croquet and read plays together. She was a magnificent teacher. I can’t describe the connection, but for the first time, she made me believe that all the help I’d received from my friends and family was going to pay off in wonderful and unexpected ways.”

Even the most miraculous of opportunities often are met with skepticism and even outright fear...“Acting offers unexpectedly began to trickle in,” remembers Neal. “Unbelievably, I was tentatively offered the role of Mrs.Robinson in ‘The Graduate.’ While no one could’ve been more perfect than Anne Bancroft, I was simply too terrified to entertain the initial ‘proposition.’ I simply had no faith I could pull it off.

”Next, came an offer from Peter Sellers for a role in “What’s New Pussycat?” Again, Neal turned it down.

Then came the film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play,“The Subject Was Roses.” It was 1968, only three years and endless struggles from her dance with death. She was to play opposite Jack Albertson and mother to a young Martin Sheen. The part was perfect —like putting on her best head-turning dress.

Neal balked again.“How did I get the guts to do it? I didn’t want to do it at all. It was my husband, God bless him, who insisted, ‘You’re gonna do it. You’re going to work!’"

And work she did, reluctantly at first. “I started out on the film more than a little grumpy,” says Neal. But by the third day, I was showing a little interest, and toward the end I adored it. Having the courage to act again was the largest victory in the rehabilitation process for me.”

Her courage was rewarded. Neal received an Academy Award nomination for her performance, and her busy and acclaimed acting career was suddenly rejuvenated.

“I came to realize that I could do anything…with help,” says Neal.

In 1978, the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, dedicated the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (PNRC) in her honor. Since then, the PNRC has served almost 20,000 inpatients and more nearly than 30,000 outpatients as they learn to walk, talk, eat and live independently following a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injuries or other traumas.

“It’s a fabulous hospital,” says Neal. “I visit several times a year, because I believe people want to see what you can come to if you work hard.”

“Patients see that I’m not perfect. I don’t walk well, can’t see out of the side of my right eye, and my hand can be uncooperative, but I’m still up and around,” says Neal.

“Of course, I have my little speech,” adds Neal. “It’s so important that you work on your rehabilitation. You need people to push you for a long time.”

“The magic is that we now understand that recovery never ceases…and patients and their families can take strength in knowing that how you start out after a stroke is not the end of your life story.”

For information, call 1 (800) PAT NEAL or go to

5 posted on 09/08/2003 9:14:02 PM PDT by shhrubbery!
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To: MarMema
"I'm talking to the doctors, seeing the patient, talking to the parents and siblings and trying to determine if he's ever expressed any wishes that would have bearing on the situation," Pickford said in an interview. "Both sides are so far apart."

How different from Terri's case. At least it sounds as though this Judge is trying to do the right thing. I certainly will add Jason to my prayer list.

6 posted on 09/08/2003 10:26:10 PM PDT by kimmie7 (Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the Cross! Pray for Terri Schiavo!)
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To: MarMema
Judging by the way the media portrays Terri Schiavo's condition, I wonder what Jason's real prognosis is. After all, it's only been one month since his accident...
7 posted on 09/08/2003 10:35:08 PM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (Davis has just been downgraded from eGray Hooker to 2 dollar whore...)
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To: MarMema
They gave him a whole month. Isn't that just a bit short-sighted?
8 posted on 09/09/2003 6:40:54 AM PDT by agrace
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To: shhrubbery!
I agree. The chance to take the time to recover from brain injuries will soon be lost completely, however. Thanks to futile care policies.

I envision some way future time when people, for some reason, begin to care again, and make these huge new discoveries that people really can recover.

I think it was Robert Wendall who was in a coma for 16 months, then awoke and was very quickly wheeling around in a wheelchair on his own.

9 posted on 09/09/2003 7:34:15 AM PDT by MarMema
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To: shhrubbery!
A fascinating story. Thanks.
10 posted on 09/09/2003 7:52:05 AM PDT by MarMema
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