Drawing on more than fifty in-depth family interviews, the history of severe brain injury from Quinlan to Schiavo, and his participation in landmark clinical trials such as the first use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state, Joseph J. Fins MD, MACP captures the paradox of medical and societal neglect even as advances in neuroscience suggest new ways to mend the broken brain.
Brain injuries are not just either catastrophic or miraculous. Like all things biological, they exist on a continuum with grey zones in between the extremes.
When decisions are devoid of a scientific predicate, the very essence of informed consent - and as importantly, informed refusal - is placed at risk.
Struggle for Consciousness
We express ourselves with our eyes. They are the portal to awareness, communication, and humanity community...except for in the vegetative state ...They move randomly about the room with neither intent nor direction like an unmanned sail boat on a gusty day.