After hearing so much about Terri Schiavo for weeks and weeks, I decided to not read/listen/watch any more coverage of her and not give her any more thought. That was a good 3 months ago and I haven't thought of her once. Until today that is -- I found an article that speaks of some potential hope for improvement in her condition!
Donald Herbert broke 10 years of virtual silence on Saturday and announced that he wanted to speak to his wife, his family and doctors were astonished and bewildered.
"He has classic signs of hypoxic damage," said Dr. Alan C. Carver, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "It's not hard to understand what happened to his brain in 1995. What is remarkable is to think that after 10 years of being like this the brain should show evidence of regeneration, because when cells don't get oxygen for a prolonged period of time they die."
Little is known about people like Mr. Herbert, who enter a state of subdued awareness and then abruptly awaken a decade or more later. But Dr. Fins of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell said their stories are strikingly similar, and suggest that recovery from years of minimal consciousness follows a steplike progression.
The case with perhaps the most parallels to Mr. Herbert's may be that of Terry Wallis, a mechanic in Arkansas who slipped into a coma and then minimal consciousness at the age of 19 after a car accident. He was largely unresponsive, but could track objects with his eyes and even respond to some commands periodically. His family was told that he was unlikely to ever recover. But in 2003, after more than 18 years of virtual silence, he suddenly perked up and began speaking.
Don't pull that feeding tube yet! Hang on Terri, recovery may be closer than you think!
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
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