View Poll Results: What would you tell them?

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  • You'd stay alive and wait

    26 29.89%
  • You'd ask them to kill you

    61 70.11%
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  1. #1

    Comatose patients are conscious - Ask to die or stay alive?

    http://io9.com/5960071/man-in-coma-u...im-not-in-pain
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8497148.stm



    A man has been in a coma for the last 12 years, and doctors have found out that he has been conscious the entire time, completely aware of who he is and where he is. They asked him questions about himself, and by analyzing his brain they could see his "yes" or "no" answers. He got 5/6 autobiographical answers correct, and he even told them that he's not in pain. So comatose patients could all be conscious out there, just waiting inside of their heads for weeks and months and years. The hospital actually tested other comatose patients and they found that 43% of them were conscious.

    Question -
    Knowing this, that being in a coma isn't just going to sleep and waking up instantly whenever it is you wake up (if at all), would you tell them to end your life or would you rather stay trapped in your body for the entire time, hoping that someday the coma will end?

    Scott Routley was involved in a car accident 12 years ago and has been in an apparent vegetative state ever since. Previous medical assessments suggested that he was not experiencing any kind of awareness, nor was he capable of spontaneous movements or communication.

    Full size
    But as the fMRI scans now show, doctors should not judge a book by its cover; assessments of what constitutes a "vegetative" state have now been thrown into question. And indeed, efforts are already underway to help neuroscientists measure the level of awareness in comatose patients.

    The communication breakthrough was achieved by Adrian Owen and his colleagues from Western University's Brain and Mind Institute. Speaking to the BBC, Owen noted that, "Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. 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."

    Looking ahead, Owen is hoping to see clinicians use brain scanning techniques in similar cases to garner more meaningful information from patients. "In future we could ask what we could do to improve their quality of life," he said. "It could be simple things like the entertainment we provide or the times of day they are washed and fed."
    Last edited by vizzle; 2012-11-18 at 10:25 AM.
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  2. #2
    I'd probably try and wait it out at first, but if at some point It'll become unbearable, then I'd ask to be euthanized (if it's possible somehow (the asking, not the euthanasia)).

  3. #3
    Fluffy Kitten Baiyn's Avatar
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    Well, now I have Metallica's One stuck in my head.

    How nightmarish! I'm not sure what I'd do. Euthanasia is still such a big no-no in most countries, including my own last I heard, that unless you had instructions written in your will or something it might be difficult to get across the message that you want to die. Anyway, I'd try stick it out as long as possible and hope to get out of it before going mad. You'd just have to hope that the people around you would attempt to provide you with some mental stimuli, like leaving a TV/radio on for you. Imagine being unable to turn off day-time TV though... =S

  4. #4
    Ask them to kill you. I even told my family that if I ever become a vegetable for good, they have my permission to get rid of me.

  5. #5
    Scarab Lord Puck's Avatar
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    I'd rather die then have my body be a prison.

  6. #6
    Could you imagine spending every day of your life staring at the ceiling for hours and hours, being washed/cleaned by someone, then having the lights turned off and having to do it all over again the next day?

    What I want to know is, if this is true why don't comatose patients that do wake up recall their experience? If they truly are conscious that's enough to turn anyone who can remember all those years into a psychopath.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Maconi View Post
    Could you imagine spending every day of your life staring at the ceiling for hours and hours, being washed/cleaned by someone, then having the lights turned off and having to do it all over again the next day?

    What I want to know is, if this is true why don't comatose patients that do wake up recall their experience? If they truly are conscious that's enough to turn anyone who can remember all those years into a psychopath.
    Only thing that would maybe keep me going is the hope of waking up. But I can't imagine the horror the people must feel.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-18 at 11:48 AM ----------

    I think it's important that we find out who of those comatose people is conscious and then talk to them as much as possible. Talk to them about everything. Tell them about yourself and about what happens in the world. Maybe that will make it more bearable for them.

  8. #8
    Suffering, definitely-going-to-die-soon, coherent people who would like to go out peacefully instead of endure what they are going through don't even have the option to be put down.

    I still don't really understand that, but that is a debate for another thread.

    If I was a (sentient) vegetable, I'd probably prefer to be taken out. Wasting resources and being blatantly bored all day would be horrible.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid Snake View Post
    I think it's important that we find out who of those comatose people is conscious and then talk to them as much as possible. Talk to them about everything. Tell them about yourself and about what happens in the world. Maybe that will make it more bearable for them.
    If any of my closest people (gf/mom/brother) ever fell in a coma I'd probably dedicate my life just doing that. I know they'd do the same.
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  10. #10
    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid Snake View Post
    Only thing that would maybe keep me going is the hope of waking up. But I can't imagine the horror the people must feel.

    I think it's important that we find out who of those comatose people is conscious and then talk to them as much as possible. Talk to them about everything. Tell them about yourself and about what happens in the world. Maybe that will make it more bearable for them.
    Fully agreed with this. However also take care to give them hope that one day they'll be good again, for if you just say "well my week has been awesome, I went mountain climbing and swimming and..." it would just make them feel worse for they know that at the current time they can't do any of that.

  11. #11
    ive been very clear with my loved ones: in the event that i am incapacitated and cant make my own decisions, and am dependent on machines to live, i want them to pull the fucking plug. i dont want them to waste their lives coming to visit a vegetable, and i dont want resources wasted on the inanimate meatsack that i would be

  12. #12
    The Lightbringer Primernova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    Well, now I have Metallica's One stuck in my head.

    How nightmarish! I'm not sure what I'd do. Euthanasia is still such a big no-no in most countries, including my own last I heard, that unless you had instructions written in your will or something it might be difficult to get across the message that you want to die. Anyway, I'd try stick it out as long as possible and hope to get out of it before going mad. You'd just have to hope that the people around you would attempt to provide you with some mental stimuli, like leaving a TV/radio on for you. Imagine being unable to turn off day-time TV though... =S

  13. #13
    I am Murloc! ita's Avatar
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    Stay alive and wait of course. It would help if they come to talk to me or put on a radio or TV or something if I was actually conscious.

    But in truth, I really doubt they are fully conscious or they'd just wake up. I think they're more like in a sleeping state, they react to questions etc. maybe dream but arent fully aware of time or awake.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    http://io9.com/5960071/man-in-coma-u...im-not-in-pain
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8497148.stm



    A man has been in a coma for the last 12 years, and doctors have found out that he has been conscious the entire time, completely aware of who he is and where he is. They asked him questions about himself, and by analyzing his brain they could see his "yes" or "no" answers. He got 5/6 autobiographical answers correct, and he even told them that he's not in pain. So comatose patients could all be conscious out there, just waiting inside of their heads for weeks and months and years. The hospital actually tested other comatose patients and they found that 43% of them were conscious.

    Question -
    Knowing this, that being in a coma isn't just going to sleep and waking up instantly whenever it is you wake up (if at all), would you tell them to end your life or would you rather stay trapped in your body for the entire time, hoping that someday the coma will end?
    depends will i be able to tell them to put on jesse cox and crendor videos and can i watch doctor who all the time? i mean if im kept entertained i probably wouldnt mind it that much plus cyborgs.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ita View Post
    Stay alive and wait of course. It would help if they come to talk to me or put on a radio or TV or something if I was actually conscious.

    But in truth, I really doubt they are fully conscious or they'd just wake up. I think they're more like in a sleeping state, they react to questions etc. maybe dream but arent fully aware of time or awake.
    According to what was described in the OP, it sounds more akin to Locked In syndrome. Fully conscious, yet without the ability to move anything.

  16. #16
    I am Murloc! ita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liara View Post
    According to what was described in the OP, it sounds more akin to Locked In syndrome. Fully conscious, yet without the ability to move anything.
    Not necessarily. For example from dreams that I remember, I knew I was sleeping, I could have answered to questions but time didn't exactly pass normally and I wasn't bored. People who are fully aware but cant move aren't in a coma, they're paralyzed. That's completely different.

    The article only tells that some coma patients aren't braindead or "vegetables", not that theyre awake and trapped. They're still in a coma but their brain is active and able to react to stimuli.

    Still, OT, even if I was fully awake like that and not able to move at all, I'd just wait it out and wish for better entertainment till then instead. Im not syaing it would be pleasant but anything is better than death.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by ita View Post
    Not necessarily. For example from dreams that I remember, I knew I was sleeping, I could have answered to questions but time didn't exactly pass normally and I wasn't bored. People who are fully aware but cant move aren't in a coma, they're paralyzed. That's completely different.

    The article only tells that some coma patients aren't braindead or "vegetables", not that theyre awake and trapped. They're still in a coma but their brain is active and able to react to stimuli.

    Still, OT, even if I was fully awake like that and not able to move at all, I'd just wait it out and wish for better entertainment till then instead. Im not syaing it would be pleasant but anything is better than death.
    True, I suppose the level of consciousness isn't as high as Locked In.

  18. #18
    The Lightbringer Noobadin's Avatar
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    I would rather die than live being trapped inside my body like that.

  19. #19
    I think I'd rather not live. Being conscious like that... Not thanks. Plus, the money being wasted on me, ugh, nope!

  20. #20
    It is not living to be trapped within your own body. I would choose death.

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