Researcher Seeks to Help Those Who Can’t Speak for Themselves
by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor
When people appear comatose, how can we know their wishes?
A Michigan Tech researcher says many non-communicative individuals may actually be able to express themselves better than is widely thought.
Syd Johnson, assistant professor of philosophy, has just published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience that argues that even patients with severe brain injuries could have more self-determination and empowerment. "New research with people using just their brains to communicate reveals that more of them might be able to make their own decisions," she says.
Those decisions can literally be life and death, and the first question a caregiver should ask is "How do we determine if they are capable--as an ordinary person would be--of making these decisions?" Johnson asks.
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