Trace of Thought Is Found in Vegetative Patient - myšlenky pacientů ve vegetativním stadiu

by: Marketa L.

Trace of Thought Is Found in ‘Vegetative ‘ Patient

I am going to talk about a communicating with a patient in a vegetative state.

Vegetative patient is a mute and immobile person whose eyes are opened.

I am very interested in a human body exactly how everything works inside. And I thing a brain is the most interesting. Scientist still don’t know everything about brain functions. The brain is far more complicated then the best computer. The brain contents 30 milliards of nervous cells.

Last week, The New England Journal of Medicine reports on a fascinating study involving a car accident victim who remains in a persistent vegetative state for five years. He is 29 years old. Using magnetic resonance imaging technology, doctors have been able to communicate with him. To open a channel of communication, they instructed the young man to think of tennis what means an answer “yes” and thoughts about being in his house with “no”. The scan showed brain activations in different parts of brain and doctors could see the answers “yes” or “no”. First they tested the technique with healthy volunteers. Then they asked the patient easy basic questions, like; ‘Do you have any brothers?’, ‘Is your father’s name Thomas?’ and ’Have you ever been to the United States?’. Then they checked whether the answers were correct and they were. They repeated the questions several times – to make sure the patient was in fact making conscious choices.

Speaking personally it is really a huge break – trough in the communication with these patients and it is very helpful for them. Now doctors might be able to ask immobilized patient, for example, if he is feeling pain and trough a series of yes or no questions, where.

Unfortunately not every vegetative patient is able to communicate.

But on the other side some doctors challenge; ‘What happened if you ask a patient whether he or she wants to live or die and the answer is die?’, ‘We know they are responding but they may not understand the question. Their answer might be ‘Yes, but’ – and we haven’t given them the opportunity to say the ‘but’.

I believe that this technique will help to vegetative patients and will make them happier in their lives. Or the patients just will be able to decide that they want to take off life support and to die. Till this time a relative or the doctor could make this decision.