Friday, August 17, 2012

Locked-In Syndrome Survivor Did Not Want to Die

The Guardian:

The 60-year-old didn't want to die. He wanted the ventilator to stay on. He was determined to walk out of the intensive care unit and he wanted everyone to know it.

But Marsh couldn't tell anyone that. The medics believed he was in a persistent vegetative state, devoid of mental consciousness or physical feeling.


"My brain protected me – it didn't let me grasp the seriousness of the situation. It's weird but I can remember never feeling scared. I knew my cognitive abilities were 100%. I could think and hear and listen to people but couldn't speak or move. The doctors would just stand at the foot of the bed and just talk like I wasn't in the room. I just wanted to holler: 'Hey people, I'm still here!' But there was no way to let anyone know."


But he still weeps when he remembers watching his wife tell the doctors that they couldn't turn off his life support machine.

"The doctors had just finished telling Lili that I had a 2% chance of survival and if I should survive I would be a vegetable," he said. "I could hear the conversation and in my mind I was screaming 'No!'"

I'm glad his story is being told.

It should not be assumed that patients with locked-in syndrome want to die.

They have the right to live as well.

H/T: Alex Schadenberg.