A Case for Increased Caution in End of Life Decisions for Disorders of Consciousness

Monash Bioethics 28 (2):13.1-13.13 (2009)
Abstract
Disorders of consciousness include coma, the vegetative state and the minimally conscious state. Such patients are often regarded as unconscious. This has consequences for end of life decisions for these patients: it is much easier to justify withdrawing life support for unconscious than conscious patients. Recent brain imaging research has however suggested that some patients may in fact be conscious.
Keywords biomedical ethics  disorders of consciousness
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Christopher D. Frith (2003). The Scientific Study of Consciousness. In Maria A. Ron & Trevor W. Robbins (eds.), Disorders of Brain and Mind 2. Cambridge University Press. 197-222.
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