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Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:30 am
by Bhikkhu Pesala
Vegetative state patients can respond to questions

Recent discoveries raise some interesting questions about consciousness, and the ethics of turning off life support.

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:58 am
by Ben
That's interesting.
Following my brother's car accident I sat with him and talked to him while all his vital signs slid off the edge of the world and became brain dead.
From time to time I have wondered whether it was of any benefit.
Thanks Bhante.

Ben

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:11 am
by tiltbillings
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Vegetative state patients can respond to questions

Recent discoveries raise some interesting questions about consciousness, and the ethics of turning off life support.
It will be interesting to see if it can be duplicated and what further research shows.

I wonder your take on those refusing CPR and other heroic measures if they were to go into cardiac arrest.

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:35 am
by Bhikkhu Pesala
Ben wrote:From time to time I have wondered whether it was of any benefit.
There are several reported cases of patients recovering from comas, and afterwards relating how they were aware of what was going on, but were unable to communicate. I think it was in one of Ajahn Brahmavamso's talks that I heard one such story of a Thai lady in Australia where the sons were discussing whether or not to turn sign the consent form for the doctors to turn off life support, and the patient was praying for her eldest son to say “no,” which fortunately for her, he did.

From the Buddhist POV, there is clearly more to consciousness than being ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful. The bhavanga consciousness continues throughout life even when were are fast asleep or in a coma. It begins at conception (whenever that is), and continues to arise and pass away whenever there is no conscious sense object.

Since human life is so rare and precious, IMO doctors should do whatever they can to preserve life, at times even against the will of the patient. We have all faced situations where we want to give up on some task that seems futile, but afterwards have succeeded when encouraged by others.

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:29 am
by appicchato
Although a little repetitive, here's more...and opinions on the topic as well...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/0 ... 49044.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:17 am
by LauraJ
Ben wrote:That's interesting.
Following my brother's car accident I sat with him and talked to him while all his vital signs slid off the edge of the world and became brain dead.
From time to time I have wondered whether it was of any benefit.
Thanks Bhante.

Ben
Much metta to you and your brother Ben :anjali: :anjali:

Re: Communicating With Patients in a Coma

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:21 am
by tiltbillings
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:.

Since human life is so rare and precious, IMO doctors should do whatever they can to preserve life, at times even against the will of the patient. We have all faced situations where we want to give up on some task that seems futile, but afterwards have succeeded when encouraged by others.
Bhante, Are you saying that if a patient goes into cardiac arrest in a hospital, that no matter what the patient has previously indicated, the hospital personal should do whatever it take to try to resuscitate the patient?