Brain Dead vs. Coma

I guess, when it comes down to it, this is personal.

When I was researching this post three things coalesced for me:

I am a survivor of traumatic brain injury

My father did not survive his traumatic brain injury.

And this is a sensitive area where medicine becomes highly politicized and where the heart of the issue is money.

When I was in a medically-Induced coma as a child my parents were cautioned against my survival. They were told I would have brain damage, symptoms of psychiatric disorders, be a vegetable if I survived.

So when I did survive it was treated as a miracle.

I still consider it a miracle.

What if the hospital’s grim warning had spooked my parents? What if they did not want to be saddled with a messed -up, cognitively impaired vegetable?

What if they did not want to pay the bill for my care?

Fast forward years later:

My father’s life hangs in the balance after a helicopter crash. His surgeon does all he can to save him. Within two days my father’s life is gone.

I needed to know they did everything they could to save him.

Because the grief that came after was so eviscerating.

The truth is that the scales and diagnostics used to separate one brain injury victim from another are highly subjective.

In one case a family takes extraordinary efforts to preserve life.

In other cases the extraordinary efforts are fought to extinguish, not preserve life.

At what cost to the soul?

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