Man in “coma” cries when he hears fiance’s voice on the phone

With a tip of the biretta to CMR:

A young man who’s been in a coma for a months started crying when his parents put the phone to his ear so he could hear his fiance. Wow.

This is pretty darn amazing and it’s a testament to the great love the guy’s parents and step parent has for him. It’s also one of the very practical reasons we shouldn’t be starving people in comas because how many times do we read that “doctors are stunned” that so and so woke up.

It’s a pretty beautiful story from the Daily Mail:


Read the rest there.

The CDF statement on artificial nutrition and hydration HERE.  And see this.

Some years ago I wrote an article on people in what is called Persistent Vegetative State.  Read there a descriptive of what it is like to die in from dehydration.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sometimes, love really does conquer all.

  2. Mike says:

    I once listened to a Mother Angelica story that is quite similar–Mother was shown into a hospital room of a man in a coma. She bent over, and whispered into his ear an Act of Contrition, and some words of spiritual consolation. She said that right after this, a huge (“the size of your thumb nail” I remember her saying!) formed at the man’s closed eye, and then ran down the side of his face.

  3. Mike says:

    That should be a huge TEAR!

  4. acroat says:

    My uncle was in a comma. His sister started crying & moaning “he’s a vegetable” at which point he started to become agitated-he couldn’t speak again yet but I’m sure what he was thinking was not very brotherly.

  5. irishgirl says:

    Yes, I’m with you, Suburbanbanshee: Love DOES really conquer all!
    Beautiful story! And it looks as if the young man might make a full recovery!

  6. AnnM says:

    Not to detract from this wonderful, moving and very important story but……

    Fiance? Are you sure? Do we need to rethink our position? :)!

    ps I’ve just read the Mail piece and breathed a sigh of relief ……. It is a fiancee. Phew.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    I get worked up about this topic. It’s upsetting to see people in comas or altered states of consciousness being written off as in a “vegetative state”, as if just saying that is sufficient reason to let people die. The utilitarian view of human life is a slippery slope if ever there was one, if you have no “function” no “purpose” can’t be “productive” then, off you go! Horrible.
    There is a middle ground, but it seems hard to find. People are not generally good with middle ground, we tend to want black or white, and there are so many grays with this topic.
    When Terry Schiavo was executed by the state of Florida, and her ex-husband, that was a turning point in America. I’ve never told anyone what I did, but I’ll share it here. I went to our nearest urban area Catholic church, the pastor must have wondered why on earth did I have to pick them. I made a sign on a poster board and nailed it to a long board. It said “Terry Schiavo – First Victim of Naziism on American soil”. Underneath it it said “I thirst” and gave the scriptural reference, which I can’t recall at this moment.
    I marched up and down by myself, for hours. Many people beeped and gave thumbs up, some just stared, some laughed. When Father came out, he said he thought my sign was “a bit harsh” because of the reference to Nazi’s.
    I have worked with many people with brain damage. The footage of Terry Schiavo did not show a person in what I would call a “vegetative state”. She smiled, responded to her family, responded to stimuli in a recognizable way. What happened to her was, in my opinion, state sponsored murder. She could not defend herself, and so they denied her food and water. Barbarianism!!
    If I were her family member, and I know this sounds harsh, but I could never have been those people, God bless their gentle souls. I would have driven my car through that building to rescue my loved one or die trying.

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    Thank you for the excellent article on hydration and nutrition Fr. Z. I will print that out and keep it as a reference. When one is trying to determine if a patient will or will not be able to take nutrition or hydration safely, there are few guides of any kind available. I encourage anyone who has a loved one in this position to ask for a second opinion on any decisions made that are so dire to a severely ill person. Ask for a therapist such as a speech pathologist to do an additional bedside exam, and you can ask for a study called “modified barium swallow” evaluation, which will demonstrate if someone can or can’t take nutrition if there are any doubts. Liquids can be ever trickier than foods, but remember the desire to drink water is a very strong one. “Thick liquids” are available for those who can’t handle thin liquids like water, tea, coffee, ice cream, jello, etc., but it is rare for anyone to enjoy them. You have to carefully weigh the situation and help make the happiest and best decision for your loved ones, or yourself.
    If you have a loved one who is say, elderly or impaired, and they consistently get pneumonia, ask for a speech pathologist to conduct a swallowing evaluation. Sit in for it to give feedback on typical observations. Not handling food or water can show up as frequent coughing, choking, “wet” quality in voice, pneumonia, or refusing food or water. People get weak, and don’t feel well, and it can all be food or drink related.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    I hope I didn’t already share my Terry Schiavo story, forgive me if I did.

  10. heway says:

    About 30 years ago, while working in a level 2 nursery (one which stabilizes the infant and then transfers it to a tertary unit), we were told by the pediatrician that when this very premature infant was born “put it in an open bed, don’t turn on the heat. It will be too small to survive”.
    The infant was born and was very much alive. We (coalition of Catholic, Baptist, Jewish and Assembly of God nurses) put the heat on and gave it oxygen. Because the infant was living, breathing, etc the physician had to order order other stabilization procedures. Infant transferred to San Diego tertiary hospital….and lived to go home with parents. Oddly, that physician does not practice at that district hospital. The hospital had formerly been run by Benedictines. It was obvious that their influence still existed in the nursing staff.
    St. Camillus protect all health care workers and their patients.

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