States of the Brain: What are the Patient’s Rights?

brain injury

Life can be unpredictable. One day you may be talking to a person you know so well, and then the next thing you know they figured in an accident and suffered serious injuries. You would learn of them being admitted to a hospital, unresponsive. If there are people who are responsible for this tragedy, they should prepare to go to court. This is the type of case that a reputable traumatic brain injury attorney would take on. Many lives are changed because of the recklessness of others, and they should accept the consequences of their actions.

The family and relatives would hurt seeing their loved one relegated to a state where they are unable to move and stuck to a hospital bed. Even if there is life in the body, the fact that they cannot communicate or convey clear emotions would make you wonder as to what kind of right do they have in such a state.

Coma, Vegetative State, Brain Dead

There are actually three health states that you have to know of when it comes to a patient losing mobility or consciousness. These are coma, vegetative state, and brain-dead. Some people may think that they are interchangeable, but that is far from the truth. They each have their own distinctive characteristics.

First, the coma state. This refers to the patient being in deep sleep or unconscious, and yet the body is fully functional. Among the three, this is the most hopeful. There are many cases where the patient awakens and still perfectly healthy.

A patient is said to be in a vegetative state when much of their body is not functioning anymore but are still able to respond with what little abilities they have left. For example, the person may be bedridden, unable to talk and move any limbs. But then they are still able to move their eyes and can hear and respond to people who talk to them by blinking. It is rare for patients to go back to normal when coming from this state.

Being brain-dead means that the patient has no brain activity anymore. When the body experiences this, it causes permanent damage to the organ. Doctors actually see this to be a dead state.

The Doctor’s Role

doctor and patient

The doctor is an expert in health matters. When there is a patient who is in an unresponsive state, their primary task is to provide care and treatment using the best of their abilities. All the decisions that they can make will be based on this thought.

When things are not looking up, the doctor can give the patient’s family all the information that they need. They will not mince words and just tell what the actual situation is, however hopeless it may be. If they observed that the patient does not have much time left to live, they should let the family members know.

Patient’s Rights

There is no telling when a person will get into a situation where they are in a hospital fighting for their life. Even if they are not able to speak or communicate it normally, the incapacitated patient still has the right to live. But it would be different if they put something in their will that would say so otherwise. They could state there if they would agree to be put into life support.

If the patient is admitted to a hospital while still able to talk or write, they could be asked to sign a DNR or Do Not Resuscitate agreement. This is used in the event that they reach a point where their heart starts failing. They can choose to have the doctor’s team attempt to revive them. This will involve the use of CPR to restore breathing and a defibrillator to give the heart some shock therapy.

The Family’s Rights

When the patient does not have any written will or has not signed a DNR agreement, the hospital staff would defer to the immediate family members for the important decisions. One of these is agreeing to put their loved one on life support. The doctor will, of course, provide valuable insight and let them know if that will nurse the patient back to health or not. It will be a tough choice for the family because prolonging life could also mean prolonging the pain.

The ultimate decision of taking the patient off life support also wrests on the family’s hands.

It is unbearable to see your loved one looking like they are in a place between life and death. If they are unable to fend off this attack on their health and speak for themselves, you must be ready to step in and make the toughest decision for their own good. This is a situation that no one would want to be in. Life can throw you a curveball like this, and you should just let your heart guide you on the choice you have to take.

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