Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegetable? Not!

Updated 3-1-2014 ; 6-29-2016

(My recovery is a separate issue. This only deals with the legal matter.)

To say I'm a vegetable would be deceptive. So what does that say about the American government? Do they really say that you ask? Yes they do. Let me explain.

When I opened my eyes, doctors determined I was brain dead and life support was to be removed. Before that could happen, I responded by blinking my eyes. I was given a PVS or Persistent Vegetative State status. Now if you look at the case of Terri Schiavo, she had this PVS diagnosis. What happened to her would determine the outcome of anyone with a PVS (and brain injury too) diagnosis. With her it was determined there could be no recovery from PVS. Just keep this fact in the back of your mind. We will come back to this.

Now go to my situation. I had slow progression, eventually talking. I was classified "semi-vegetative" but really had no clue what that was. I thought I was rid of the PVS diagnosis. Actually, I wasn't. I didn't realize there was a court ruling determining my situation. What had happened was doctors couldn't really move me up. They came up with the term "semi-vegetative" meaning nothing more than semi-PVS. So I was still PVS.

FRUSTRATION! Why couldn't I shake this thing? There had to be some sort of rule somewhere. I looked more at the Terri Schiavo case. It was a right-to-life case, but what she had would set the standard for others who had the same problems. She had PVS. Also, she had a brain injury. Her outcome would set the precedent for all PVS and brain injury patients. It was determined no progress would happen therefore it would be okay to end her life.

"No progress would happen." No progress in PVS, and no progress in brain injury. That's why I couldn't shake it. It was legally determined I would make no progress. That's not the truth, though. In an e-mail, "The fact that you can communicate in an intelligent manner is proof in and of itself!" I've been doing lots of things that are cognizant. Yet, I still have the PVS diagnosis. I'm a "talking vegetable."

This issue will have to be dealt with, because if I wanted to, The Florida Supreme Court made the diagnosis permanent. Once you have it, you always have it. There can be no progress. If, in the future, a person with PVS gets better, he/she can rob a bank and not be charged. PVS already makes the person incompetent, and you can't charge an incompetent person. (Incidentally, researchers this is why your funding is drying up.)
Science and politics are getting mixed together.  One discipline is more free to make changes and I'm stuck with a label.

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