Video: Man suspected of being in vegetative state tells doctors he’s not in pain

posted at 8:31 pm on November 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Miraculous and horrifying. Something’s still going on upstairs, 12 years after his accident, and this is the first technological baby step towards harnessing it. You can imagine in the future how a portable brain-scan device might give people with his condition a chance to communicate day to day, however primitively. It’s like digging through 20 feet of avalanched snow and finding someone who’d been given up for dead still alive. Miraculous. But imagine how he spent those 12 years. Patients suffering from “locked-in syndrome” — which is very different from a vegetative state — often (but not always) at least retain an ability to communicate with their eyes. If properly diagnosed, the people around them will understand that they can communicate and the patient will know that those people understand. One man who suffered from it was even able to tweet before eventually opting for assisted suicide. Someone in a vegetative state, which is what Scott Routley was thought to be in, has none of that. If he wanted to communicate, even just to let his mother and father know that he understood them, he had no outlet until now. Horrifying.

There’s no way to avoid a Terri Schiavo comparison here, although the fact that Routley is capable of communicating doesn’t necessarily mean that she would have been capable under similar circumstances. I’d be interested in hearing a neuroscientist’s opinion of their comparative cognitive function. Did she suffer more brain damage than he did — enough so that she couldn’t have responded to commands even through the MRI? Then again, even if she couldn’t have, the whole point of the Routley experiment is that experts in this field may be taking for granted how much awareness a presumably vegetative patient retains. With that much uncertainty, who wants to roll the dice on starving someone on the fingers-crossed assumption that they won’t feel a thing? I’ll leave you with this harrowing thought from the darkest days of the national screaming match over Schiavo. I remember getting into it with a friend who was absolutely convinced, to a metaphysical degree, that Schiavo was nothing but a husk of a human being that retained no sensate abilities whatsoever. She was dead by any reasonable definition of the term, he insisted. In that case, I asked him, why bother wasting several days by slowly starving her to death? Why not just wheel her over to the crematorium and dump her in? Good point, he said, why not? So, there you go.


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Dang

Arnold Yabenson on November 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Your friend sounds like the type of thinking that brought us Communism and Nazism.

rob verdi on November 13, 2012 at 8:35 PM

This will go nowhere. ObamaCare is the law of the land and keeping people alive in vegetative states is not going to lower costs.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Didn’t I see video of schiavo smiling and interacting with her parents, even marginally?

catmman on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

IPAB will figure this out once Ocare is fully implemented.

CoffeeLover on November 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM

He’s not worth it.

Remove all tubes.

/Panels.

blatantblue on November 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Didn’t I see video of schiavo smiling and interacting with her parents, even marginally?

catmman on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Yes, but they said that was involuntary.

My mom passed away a couple of years ago following a massive stroke. Prior to that, she was in a similar state, and I’ve often wondered if she knew we were there with her. I hope so.

changer1701 on November 13, 2012 at 8:45 PM

No real proof of anything in the article. The vegetative state brain is likely showing metabolic activity, not cognitive ability. It’s like saying your brain is in sleep mode but you no longer have a working central processor, I/O, or video card but the motherboard is still warm. I’ve always been of the argument that taking care of someone like that essentially costs the lives of several people just in taking care of them for a very limited or nonexistent quality of life.

aniptofar on November 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

If I’m there, I WANT to move on to a better place. But that’s just me and a living will speaking for only myself.

wolly4321 on November 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

This will go nowhere. ObamaCare is the law of the land and keeping people alive in vegetative states is not going to lower costs.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Nothing about Obamacare will lower costs.

Mimzey on November 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

He didn’t build that technology.

/

After a car accident in ’88 (closed head injury), I was comatose for 4 days. Still have memories of things that were going on around me.

Ugly on November 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

There’s no way to avoid a Terri Schiavo comparison here, although the fact that Routley is capable of communicating doesn’t necessarily mean that she would have been capable under similar circumstances.

Terry was communicating. Even just before she was killed by her doctors and x-husband, her parents came into the room and told her something to the effect of “Terry, they are going to let you die unless you tell us you want to live.” Terry responded, according to her parents “I want to live!”

I followed this story in detail! Hannity was all over this! Terry Shiaveo was murdered by the state and it still disgusts me! Every act of communicating that woman did was responded by the people that wanted to kill her with “Those are just sounds.. they aren’t communications.”

Anything that advances life for the disabled like this is going to be swept under the rug! It doesn’t not advance the state! If it does not advance socialism then it is useless.

Case in point… Christopher Reeves. How many people remember the news about the advances he was making physically? Anybody remember that? He had actually gotten to the point where he was having movement back in his finger tips and toes! It was amazing! They even did a take off, of sorts, about his advances with that commercial where it showed him walking on a stage in the future or something. Anyone remember that?

Well what has come of the advances he had made? He died shortly after the film came out and then it wasn’t long after that his wife died. And now I have never heard a thing about it since. No one has tried to replicate it or continue to do that work with anyone else that we know of. I remember them saying his work had changed the way people were going to view spinal cord injuries. That before Reeves, they always thought the spinal cord was dead. And now they began to realize that maybe the spinal cord could be brought back to life, so to speak, by forcing nerve functions through it.. by continuing to force stimulation through the cord. That the spinal cord could maybe be forced to “remember.”

And yet since then.,.. nothing.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I’ve always been of the argument that taking care of someone like that essentially costs the lives of several people just in taking care of them for a very limited or nonexistent quality of life.

aniptofar on November 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

How so? You’re implying “death panels”..we don’t have those yet. They kick in next year.
Thanks Liberal D-bags.
Suckers!

Mimzey on November 13, 2012 at 8:54 PM

This will go nowhere. ObamaCare is the law of the land and keeping people alive in vegetative states is not going to lower costs.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Probably this.

El_Terrible on November 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

“I cross-referenced you on the chart and I’m afraid you don’t fit the criteria for being saved, sorry about that. Orderly, take him away. NEXT!”

-Government healthcare clerk

Bishop on November 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Terry was communicating. Even just before she was killed by her doctors and x-husband, her parents came into the room and told her something to the effect of “Terry, they are going to let you die unless you tell us you want to live.” Terry responded, according to her parents “I want to live!”

Her parents are liars.

Pablo Honey on November 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Man suspected of being in vegetative state

John Kerry?

faraway on November 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I’ve always been of the argument that taking care of someone like that essentially costs the lives of several people just in taking care of them for a very limited or nonexistent quality of life.

aniptofar on November 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

If the value of a human life is based on its quality then I don’t suppose you’d mind if someone with a higher quality of life came by your place and offed you?

29Victor on November 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Her parents are liars.

Pablo Honey on November 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

How sweet of you…why you are just like honey to a bear, you little wordsmith you are…aren’t you clever.
Funny how brave people are…than about 20 years later, when faced with similar circumstances, how they beg for mercy…one of your loved ones will die, and you will remember this one little post, and your knees will buckle…you are so brave, when faced with nothing but a computer screen.

right2bright on November 13, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Heck, I’ve been in a vegetative state since Nov 6th.

faraway on November 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM

NB4FLAMEFEST

Jeddite on November 13, 2012 at 9:16 PM

We have a couple of Death-Trolls here.

Electrongod on November 13, 2012 at 9:17 PM

“With that much uncertainty, who wants to roll the dice on starving someone on the fingers-crossed assumption that they won’t feel a thing?”

Obowma, and the rest who exempted themselves from their own law…

… Any more questions?

Seven Percent Solution on November 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I thought this was going to be an article about Joe Biden.

fogw on November 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM

If the value of a human life is based on its quality then I don’t suppose you’d mind if someone with a higher quality of life came by your place and offed you?

29Victor on November 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

The point is, it would be nice for someone to have an option…

I have raised a family, done what I needed to to in this life, felt I contributed my fair share, I am at peace with myself and my saviour…if I was stuck in that “vegetative” state, the question I would like asked is…”Do you want to keep on living?”, and I assure you it would be “No”.
I wasn’t put on the earth to be a burden, but to relieve burden, to make other peoples lives better…I did that with my businesses, and with my family…I can’t imagine anyone of any worth, wanting the world to revolve around them to keep them just alive, but not functioning.

I am a baby boomer, so this is a question and a challenge that you youngsters are going to have to face for the next 25-40 years…good luck.

right2bright on November 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM

@CoreyCogdell I hope that someone someday shoot your whole familly just practicing.—
Pablo Honney (@pablito_honas) August 02, 2012
2 Aug 12

MontanaMmmm on November 13, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Her parents are liars.

Pablo Honey on November 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

No. That would be the people who murdered Terry Schiavo.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 9:24 PM

If the value of a human life is based on its quality then I don’t suppose you’d mind if someone with a higher quality of life came by your place and offed you?

29Victor on November 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Aniptofar is probably one of those that thinks that Bella Santorum or trig Palin shouldn’t be here due to their less than perfect quality of life’.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 13, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Being stuck in a vegetative state would be horrific for me as well.. That would be my version of hell… being able to understand things at a high level but not respond.

Illinidiva on November 13, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Being stuck in a vegetative state would be horrific for me as well.. That would be my version of hell… being able to understand things at a high level but not respond.

Illinidiva on November 13, 2012 at 9:25 PM

You can still pray.

davidk on November 13, 2012 at 9:27 PM

In Schiavo’s case, the parents wanted to take care of their daughter, but the husband wanted to ‘formalize’ with the mistress. And the fight was over the estate money on Terry Schiavo.

At least Routley is lucky to not be in such a case.

Sir Napsalot on November 13, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Man suspected of being in vegetative state

John Kerry?

faraway on November 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I think they should go whole hog and make Hanoi Jane Assistant SECDEF.

davidk on November 13, 2012 at 9:30 PM

In Schiavo’s case, the parents wanted to take care of their daughter, but the husband wanted to ‘formalize’ with the mistress. And the fight was over the estate money on Terry Schiavo.

At least Routley is lucky to not be in such a case.

Sir Napsalot on November 13, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Sex and money.

davidk on November 13, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I thought this was going to be an article about Joe Biden.

fogw on November 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Post of the Week!!!

Conservative4Ever on November 13, 2012 at 9:32 PM

We have a couple of Death-Trolls here.

Electrongod on November 13, 2012 at 9:17 PM

…TROLLCOTT ‘em!

KOOLAID2 on November 13, 2012 at 9:37 PM

Terry was communicating. Even just before she was killed by her doctors and x-husband, her parents came into the room and told her something to the effect of “Terry, they are going to let you die unless you tell us you want to live.” Terry responded, according to her parents “I want to live!”

Wait, what?!? Haha, I don’t mean to laugh but I don’t remember that at all. I remember seeing the infamous balloon video that supposedly showed her following it, but then not following it. I don’t remember seeing or hearing any evidence of direct communication above “involuntary” movements. “I want to live!” is about 4000X stronger evidence than I saw.

Again, not saying she deserved to die or should have lived. But that’s just something I never even heard close to before.

Regarding this, holy crap…talk about my worst nightmare. They make horror movies about stuff like that!

nextgen_repub on November 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

…TROLLCOTT ‘em!

KOOLAID2 on November 13, 2012 at 9:37 PM

:)

Electrongod on November 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7328639/ns/msnbc-the_abrams_report/t/terri-schiavos-ct-scan/#.UKMFu0Jq2GM

Terry Schiavo’s neurologist (one of eight who examined her) explains that she was brain dead except for brain stem reflex, and reviews her CT scan findings. And discusses her parents claim she “talked to them.”

Marcus on November 13, 2012 at 9:51 PM

AP, I believe I’ve been underrating you for quite a while now. I thought you were pretty squishy on stuff like this. Maybe you are; maybe you were simply playing devil’s advocate with your friend. But I prefer the version of reality that plays out in my head – in which morality keeps sneaking up on you – just because it makes a better story.

This is the same reason I can never understand why the left treats abortion as a “difficult” and “tragic” decision. If they really believe a baby is just a clump of tissue, what’s the difficulty? Where’s the tragedy?

mrsknightley on November 13, 2012 at 10:07 PM

AS. THE. SECRETARY. SHALL. DETERMINE.

This guy is just an expense to the state and should be forced to take the “pain pill” like President Obamacare said.

Put him out of his misery and save the state money, and use the $$$ for people under 45 that can bring value/economic growth for our masters in D.C.

You won’t be hearing stories like this in the future. Terri Schiavo and others will be terminated and America will slip further into tyranny and darkness.

PappyD61 on November 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM

I want my husband (or my children if he dies before me) to be making life or death decisions like this – not the government. I know my family will make the best decision from a Christian perspective that they can. I would want them to give me a chance for life. There are people in this situation who have communicated but the pro death doctors always seem to discount what the family has to say if they want their loved one to go on living (or at least want to make sure they don’t kill or inflict more pain on their loved one).

Probably the best thing would be for each of us to communicate clearly our wishes to our family members while we still can so they will have a good idea what each of us would most likely want them to do. I am pro life but I do think that the family should be able to refuse further medical treatment if they think it’s a futile situation. But I personally would not want someone to take away food and hydration. I always feared that Terri Schiavo was in a lot of pain as she dehydrated and starved to death. I also think that her husband just wanted the money and he wanted to marry the other woman he had two kids with so he decided to starve her to death. Terri’s parents were willing to take over the responsibility and the expense of caring for her and I think they should have been able to do that. Michael Schiavo could have divorced her and remarried if the situation wasn’t about money.

sherrimae on November 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM

There’s a book called “the Diving Bell and the Butterfly” written by a man with locked in syndrom. He died right after finishing. His name was Jean-Dominique Bauby. I can’t imagine being aware but not being able to communicate.

shooten on November 14, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I remember getting into it with a friend who was absolutely convinced, to a metaphysical degree, that Schiavo was nothing but a husk of a human being that retained no sensate abilities whatsoever. She was dead by any reasonable definition of the term, he insisted. In that case, I asked him, why bother wasting several days by slowly starving her to death? Why not just wheel her over to the crematorium and dump her in? Good point, he said, why not? So, there you go.

Well I certainly hope you told Andy Levy to get bent!

Kensington on November 14, 2012 at 12:27 AM

I want my husband (or my children if he dies before me) to be making life or death decisions like this – not the government.

Pfft. That is so pre-Obamacare.

Kensington on November 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM

This will go nowhere. ObamaCare is the law of the land and keeping people alive in vegetative states is not going to lower costs.

JellyToast on November 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

“…go before a board…you’ll have to justify your existence…produce as much as you consume, perhaps a little more…”

tdarrington on November 14, 2012 at 7:02 AM

I’ve always been of the argument that taking care of someone like that essentially costs the lives of several people just in taking care of them for a very limited or nonexistent quality of life.

aniptofar on November 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Their choice – NOT yours. And who made you judge of anyone else’s “quality of life?”

Eren on November 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

What evidence did the Doctors have that Scott was purposefully thinking about tennis, rather than engaging in random, nonsensical thoughts?

Did you notice that when they asked Scott to indicate whether he was having pain or not, Scott’s response was not included in the documentary?

Are the Physicians here inferring that in order to adequately care for an individual in a vegetative state, that said individual must undergo periodic scans for questioning?

The government cannot afford adequate health care for those walking, never mind those who are vegetative!

The medical field is in far more need of new antibiotics to cure superbugs, than investing millions money into individuals who will realistically never improve.

As far as I can tell, this is more wishful thinking by the Physicians and just another way to keep themselves employed via government grant and research money.

Sparky5253 on November 14, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Terry Schiavo’s neurologist (one of eight who examined her) explains that she was brain dead except for brain stem reflex, and reviews her CT scan findings. And discusses her parents claim she “talked to them.”

Marcus on November 13, 2012 at 9:51 PM

And doctors are NEVER wrong.. In fact, most of them are God (or so they think so..) If I seem sarcastic forgive me, but it took those Godlike doctors who helped decide a woman’s life EIGHT YEARS to diagnose me with an autoimmune disease that almost killed me. And those self-same doctors just KNEW I was a hypochondriac or “depressed” not really sick.

Her parents are liars.

Pablo Honey on November 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

And her husband is a scumbucket who didn’t remember having the talk about her not having extra life support until AFTER he started a relationship with a new honey. In fact, he went to nursing school originally to take care of Terri.

melle1228 on November 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM

As a nurse’s aide I cared for a 19 year old young man who was in a horrific car crash. He was declared “braindead” at the hospital. His mother had the choice of cutting off the respirator but she refused. Several months later he arrived at our nursing home still on the respirator. He eventually had the respirator removed, wore oxygen, and slowly began making involuntary leg and hand movements.

Several more months passed, and he opened his eyes. We began asking him yes or no questions and he started to answer by blinking. He started to grunt, and through speech therapy started speaking simple phrases.

He checked out under the care of his mother and I didn’t see him for about a year. One day he walked through the door to visit us. There were a couple of other nurses there who were new and had never taken care of him. He looked at me, smiled and gave me a huge bear hug!!

These things may be rare, I don’t know. But a beautiful, happy life was saved due to the patience and love of others.

guera on November 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM