Month: March 2009


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A man’s pregnant wife fell into a coma after losing a baby to a blood infection. She was unresponsive and on a ventilator. After two weeks, the hospital told the man they were going to pull the plug. The man “snaps and tells his wife off.” Two hours later, she began breathing on her own. Eventually, she regained consciousness.

I read this story on the news a couple of days ago. This story and others like it have made me think. I wish I could ask some questions of the couple and the hospital:

  • Could the woman hear her husband “telling her off” while she was in a coma?
  • Did the doctor have any explanation for her awakening?
  • Has anyone explored the possibility that the brain shuts down during trauma in some way that we don’t yet understand, giving the false impression in some cases that the person is in an irreversible coma?
  • Has the fact that some people have awakened after being declared dead made the hospital rethink its protocol for turning off the vent?
  • As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket and improved medical technology prolongs lives that would have been lost in earlier times, has the medical field lost its collective patience and begun to replace compassion with convenience?

Until we have the answers we need in these and other vital questions, choose to err on the side of life. Everyone deserves the chance for an awakening.

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