paula (paulasj) wrote in little_details,
paula
paulasj
little_details

Are coma patients put to death?

Setting:

After a car accident, a seventeen year old boy has been in a coma for over a year.  There hasn't been any improvement in his condition for a long time, but he is able to dream.  The story revolves around both this dream-world and reality (it's up to the reader to guess which one is real).

Patien'ts doctor feels it's time for parents to consider their options (removing all life saving measures).  What test results would the doctor have to make this determination?  Or is it a judgement call?  And can those test results be explained away when the patient recovers?  

I need an answer to the last question to make the story work.


Research:

- I've googled "coma patients", "terminating life saving measures for coma patients", "ethics of ending life saving measures", "vegetative state". 
- I've also used my own experience with neurosurgeons as a patient's mother. 
- Columbia Universtiy Medical Center, online resources. 
- Interviewed pediatric physical therapists on muscle reactions during comas.
Tags: ~medicine: coma
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