Are you in there?
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:49 PM [+]
THIS bit of news, which is all over the net and I even noted it on FB, stands to be exceptionally emotional...upsetting, terrifying, or perhaps hopeful. I have noticed that a number of articles have been quick to point and imply that this revelation does not apply to those with cerebral hypoxia such as in the controversial Shiavo case. However, I took the time to read the actual study paper as published, and the devil is certainly in the details: the study specifically excluded victims of hypoxia. Thus we cannot say it is not possible that this applies to them, in fact anytime I hear someone make some dogmatic statement such as: "In some cases, the damage to the brain is so severe that it is simply inconceivable they could produce any responses." I tend to wish to say: Wait and see.
Anyway...in looking at some of these brain scans I'm certainly amazed.
But what does this say about personhood? In a state where "experts" tell us "they aren't there anymore" and yet they live...where did they go?
The implications here are not easy to deal with, particularly for the poor family (Lord have mercy) who must deal with a loved one in a persistent vegetative state. But one can well imagine a time when such loved ones (even if just a lucky...or is it unlucky few?) may be able to have means of communicating their wishes and more importantly their love. Don't tell a grieving loved one they are wasting their time in spending time with someone in a coma or a PVS...there ARE in there and it would seem they may well be listening and comprehending. Love is easy to know...harder to show.