Severe Brain Injury: Recognizing the Limits of Treatment and Exploring the Frontiers of Research

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (2):161-168 (2007)
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Abstract

Persons who experience severe brain injury often suffer significant disorders of consciousness. Anoxic injuries from cardiac arrest or strokes and traumatic injuries from falls, vehicular crashes, or assaults can result in several conditions in which patients lose or have diminished consciousness for an extended period of time. Two such conditions that create considerable public confusion and controversy are the vegetative state and the minimally conscious state. Although these conditions have generated significant medical and academic research, the general public and policymakers are often confused about the nature of VS and MCS. The most recent evidence for this confusion is the acrimonious public debate, the extensive media coverage, the prolonged litigation, and the attempts of various governmental officials to intervene in dealing with the plight of Terri Schiavo

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