Recovery from Severe Brain Damage
Required reading for anybody commenting on cases of severe brain damage:
Devastating strokes on both sides of his head drove 31-year-old Mark Ragucci into a deep coma. As seizures swept through his brain like silent electrical storms, his gaze froze. His arms were paralyzed at his sides in a syndrome neurologists call man-in-the-barrel, signaling serious brain damage.
A month after his stroke, Dr. Ragucci had recovered somewhat physically, but not mentally. He was still officially in a vegetative state. Six weeks after the stroke his family transferred him to a rehabilitation facility, and that was the last Stephan Mayer saw of Mark Ragucci.
The last, that is, until the day nearly a year later, in late 2002, when Dr. Ragucci walked into Dr. Mayer's Columbia office and introduced himself. The former patient spoke in a monotone and his fingers were tightened into claws, but that was the extent of his disability. "When he walked in, I almost fell over," Dr. Mayer recalls. "It was at that point I realized that we knew absolutely nothing about the recuperative power of the brain."
In related news, the self-congratulation-based community refered to both Terri Schindler Schiavo and her supporters as “brain dead”:
"We're staying here to show our support for Terri," said a born-again Christian protester, who, like Schiavo, is capable of virtually no independent cranial activity.The term “brain dead” has an actual meaning. In order to be brain dead, all brain function must cease. Terri had a working brain stem and wasn't even in a decerebrate posture. When the term “brain dead” expands to mean other things, especially when combined with the tendency to claim believers in traditional religions are brain dead, such believers can be expected to act as though a target had been painted on them.