Unjustly dehumanizing patients with severe brain injuries

By Dave Andrusko Adequately discussing Prof. Joseph J. Fins’ New York Times op-ed “Brain Injury and the Civil Right We Don’t Think About” of a while back not only doesn’t lend itself to brevity, it is also so important it justifies a more elaborate examination. In that vein I’ve promised myself I will read Prof. …

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Woman who had suffered catastrophic brain injury communicates with her mom after 21 years

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition On December 29 the Canadian Press published a “Christmas miracle” story. A Nova Scotia woman, Joellen Huntley, who had suffered a catastrophic brain injury in 1996, communicated with her mother, on Christmas day, for the first time in 21 years. Her mother called it a “Christmas …

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Justice for Jahi

By Wesley J. Smith In California, Jahi McMath is legally dead. In New Jersey, she is legally alive. Now, the deceased—or profoundly disabled—teenager is the subject of litigation that could make history. A quick rundown: In 2013, the then thirteen-year-old girl suffered a cardiac arrest after undergoing throat surgery. Jahi’s brain was deprived of oxygen, …

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Judge Rules Jahi McMath May Not be Dead

By Wesley J. Smith This could be one of the biggest bioethics cases since Terri Schiavo. A judge has ruled that the teenager, declared dead in California, may not be dead. From the East Bay Express story: Jahi McMath, the Oakland teenager whose brain death case has sparked national debate, may not currently fit the …

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Resisting the urge to dehumanize patients with severe brain injuries

By Dave Andrusko The intent of the last post of each day is always to be brief. But adequately discussing Prof. Joseph J. Fins’ New York Times op-ed “Brain Injury and the Civil Right We Don’t Think About” not only doesn’t lend itself to brevity, it is also so important it justifies a more elaborate …

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Minimally Conscious, not Minimally Human

Caring for the “Smallest” of Lives What gives human life value? How we answer that question will determine who lives and who dies. By Eric Metaxas In the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” comedian Eric Idle leads a cart full of dead bodies through a plague-ravished medieval village yelling, “Bring out your dead!” …

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Dr. Adrian Owen attempting to give patients in a locked-in syndrome “their voice back”

By Dave Andrusko Before I started writing this post, I checked to see how many times NRL News Today had written about Dr. Adrian Owen, who is a Canadian Excellence Research Chair in cognitive neuroscience and imaging based at the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute. Today’s post will make 14 stories about …

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The “right to die” and the Karen Ann Quinlan case at 40

By Dave Andrusko The name Thaddeus Pope may ring a bell with particularly careful readers of NRL News Today. We have written before about Pope, who is Director, Health Law Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and author of the hugely influential “Medical Futility Blog.” He is a major player in …

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Jahi McMath Breathing on Own?

By Wesley J. Smith Readers may recall Jahi McMath–the teenager declared brain dead in California. Her family–assisted by the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network and the Life Legal Defense Foundation–fought the determination in court. A settlement led to Jahi being declared dead by California as the family was permitted to take her to New …

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Ethically sound stem cells provide “meaningful” recover in stroke victims

By Dave Andrusko A study published in the journal Stroke “is creating significant buzz in the neuroscience community because the results appear to contradict a core belief about brain damage — that it is permanent and irreversible,” according to Ariana Eunjung Cha of the Washington Post. The preliminary research, which admittedly is tentative and involved …

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Maggie’s powerful story raises troubling questions about how people with serious intellectual disabilities are diagnosed and cared for

By Jennifer Popik, J.D., Legislative Counsel, Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee As the tragedy of Terri Schindler Schiavo’s death by starvation illustrates, euthanasia advocates have long been quick to dismiss as worthless the lives of those people with intellectual and physical disabilities they label with the dehumanizing term …

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