Some Observations on Post-Coma Unawareness Patients and on Other Forms of Unconscious Patients: Policy Proposals
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1997; 16(3): 451-471
The concern of this paper is with various forms of unconsciousness. Special attention will be given to patients in PCU commonly termed as Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). I reject the term PVS, arguing that for ethical reasons we should strive to resort to terminology that does not offend the patients and their loved ones. I further urge hospitals not to cease treatment of PCU patients younger than 50 years old within a period of less than two years. This is especially true for patients who entered a state of unawareness due to traumatic causes. The two-years waiting period should be regarded as the minimum period of evaluation before foregoing hopes for patients' rehabilitation and return to some form of cognition. I provide data and human stories from the Israeli experience to substantiate this argument.
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