Permanent Vegetative States: Not So Permanent

posted at 4:12 pm on May 23, 2006 by Bryan

I’ve had this story sent in by a couple of different sources. Given recent history, it’s fascinating for more than just the oddity that sleeping pills wake some people up:

A sleeping pill can temporarily revive people in a permanent vegetative state to the point where they can have conversations, a study finds.

Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia.

South African researchers, writing in the NeuroRehabilitation, looked at the effects on three patients of using the drug for up to six years.

Each of the three patients studied was given the drug every morning.

An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state.

Attach the usual science caveats to this story–it could always fall apart. Might this scientific advance have helped Terri Schiavo? We’ll never know, will we. It’s such a good thing they killed her before we could all find out.

(h/t Chris and Allahpundit)

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Yes, but attorney George Felos knew about this all along.

Hey, you guys wanna maybe put some “link” “bold” “blockquote” and “italicize” buttons on this thing? I no speaka da html. I mean, I’ve figured it out before, but that’s a lot of typing and brackets to get just right. I promise not to spam you.

see-dubya on May 23, 2006 at 4:48 PM

A permanent vegetarian state is a misnomer because there are no equivalences between humans and vegetables as they are entirely different species. The labeling of a handicaped human as such is just a dehumanizing attempt to justify euthanasia.

I believe Terri’s demise and subsequent death was planned to keep her from telling what happened that day when she was rendered incapable. Her husband has probably got a few troubling things on his mind that will haunt him to his death bed and beyond.

docdave on May 23, 2006 at 5:31 PM

What about the results of the Terri Schiavo autopsy?

“Terri Schiavo suffered severe, irreversible brain damage that left that organ discolored and scarred, shriveled to half its normal size, and damaged in nearly all its regions…”

I doubt a pill of any kind could have made a difference there.

In hindsight this made the President, the Republicans, and the Save Terri fanatics lose credibility and look like fools, IMO.

We need to choose our battles more intelligently. This one was an emotional distraction from truly important issues.

speed647 on May 23, 2006 at 7:29 PM

Just in case this is even slightly effective we need to start prescribing this for dhimmicrats and ALL senators ASAP? ;)


RobertHuntingdon on May 23, 2006 at 7:32 PM

And because of Terri’s faulty cognitive abilities she deserved to be dehydrated and starved for 13 days until she died? When she had family who would have gladly cared for her? Shame.

Margaret McC on May 23, 2006 at 8:56 PM

Interesting article. I’ll enjoy reading the full published report. I suspect that this will end up being a misdiagnosis of a locked-in syndrome or akinetic mutism, but even if that is the case this could mean an advance in diagnosis of pvs and treatment of something else.

Moto Oda on May 23, 2006 at 9:17 PM

Could Prime Minister Sharon be given this beofre more of Israel is given away to Palestinian terroists?

dm60462 on May 23, 2006 at 10:43 PM

For that matter, could we provide some to the United Nitwits?


RobertHuntingdon on May 23, 2006 at 11:02 PM

speed647, you wrote about the sentiment I wished to express all afternoon, at the risk of alienating friends on this site. At the time I wrote to Ken Mehlman to please stop the insane and futile votes in the Senate, House and the White House because of the risk of losing true conservatives and independents. So un-conservative! It was indeed the beginning of the end of this support. This is a very important group in all elections, no matter what the far-Left and far-Right believes or doens’t. And how cheap and hypocritical of the Democrats not to oppose the vote!

The Terri Shiavo case is a tragic one and both families behaved very badly. It did, however, not belong on TV and not outside of the family and the FL law. No one respected and honored Teri! No grace! No peace until the very end! And none today, yet! Please, finally, let her rest!

Entelechy on May 23, 2006 at 11:10 PM

Might this scientific advance have helped Terri Schiavo? We’ll never know, will we.

Her autopsy showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she had suffered massive cerebral atrophy… which is what her pre-death brain scan also showed. That damage is irreversable. No pill can fix that.

That is different than mere “PVS,” which is horribly named. As this case, and others show, “PVS” isn’t permanent at all. And yeah, that’s a problem. If it isn’t absolutely permanent, like with Ms. Schiavo’s case, doctors shouldn’t be calling it permanent. “Permanent” doesn’t mean “until conditions change.”

Mark Jaquith on May 23, 2006 at 11:52 PM

Clarification, “this case” refers to the case Bryan presented above, not Ms. Schiavo’s case.

Mark Jaquith on May 23, 2006 at 11:53 PM

Only works if they haven’t already been euphoria’d to death.

infra172 on May 24, 2006 at 11:19 AM