Brain-Injured Man Speaks After 6 Years, Death Advocates Regroup
Pro-death advocates were saddened to learn this week of a brain-damaged man who could communicate only with slight eye or thumb movements for six years has gained the ability to speak again, after stimulating electrodes were placed in his brain, researchers report.
“This is distressing news,” said Ivana Muerte, President of DIE. “After someone’s been in a coma, minimally conscious, or sometimes just in a heavy sleep they’re ours. They should be allowed to be killed by those that love them most.”
The 38-year-old patient also regained the ability to chew and swallow, which allows him to be spoon-fed, rather than relying on nourishment through a tube in his belly. Muerte said that doesn’t necessarily mean anything because the patient still needs to be fed and therefore there is still cause to ensure that those who love this person have the choice to starve them in the name of love.
The man’s brain was injured during an assault and he spent six years with only occasional signs of consciousness and no useful movement of his limbs. In an experiment, researchers implanted electrodes in his brain for a procedure called deep brain stimulation. They turned the electrodes on and off over six months to test their effect, and reported the results in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. The man now has them on throughout the day.
“I think the question to be asked is what kind of quality of life is this, walking around with electrodes tied to your brain all day,” said Muerte. “And what of this person’s family members. Do they have to plug him in all day. Think of the electric bill. All those wires could also trip children and hurt them. It could be this person would be better off if they were allowed to die.”
Experts called the report exciting but cautioned that the approach must be tested in more people before its value can promulgated. “We believe this sort of testing should be monitored closely by the FDA,” said Muerte. “We can’t just promote this stuff willy-nilly. This stuff needs to be tested. We are, however, officially opposed to testing on animals. That’s just cruel.”
Naral Pro Choice America spokesperson said they too were shocked to learn of the treatment that could immeasurably improve thousands of lives. NARAL said in a press release that it’s a misconception that they’re just interested in killing little babies. “We’re also interested in the death of big people now too,” said the release.
In fact, NARAL is considering opening up clinics where family members could…let other family members go when they choose to because sometimes love means letting go.
Amnesty International said they were now officially neutral on this issue.