Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ABC Reports on Houben and "Vindication" for Family of Terri Schiavo.

Video at this link. Easy to miss for 23 years?

The family of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who was artificially kept alive for 15 years, say they feel both heartbreak and vindication over the news this week that a Belgian man thought to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) was fully conscious for two decades.

Schiavo, who had been diagnosed as brain dead, was at the center of a seven-year legal tug-of-war that involved Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and even President George W. Bush before a judge granted her husband the right to allow her to die in 2005.

In a strikingly similar case this week, Belgian doctors revealed that Ron Houbens -- thought to have no brain activity since a 1983 car crash -- had actually been paralyzed and was fully conscious, able to hear everything around him but not respond.

With the news that patients can be mentally "locked in" -- unable to breathe or eat on their own or communicate, yet fully aware cognitively --- some religious and ethical groups are saying, "I told you so."

And now the Catholic Church has weighed in, ordering doctors at its hospitals to ignore patients' advanced directives indicating they do not want artificial feeding if they are diagnosed as permanently unconscious.

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