persistent vegetative state

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coma, in medicine, deep state of unconsciousness from which a person cannot be aroused even by painful stimuli. The patient cannot speak and does not respond to command. Coma is the result of damage to the brain stem and cerebrum that may be caused by severe head or brain injury, cardiac arrest, stroke, diabetes, drug overdose, shock, or hemorrhage. It occurs just before death in many diseases. There are various depths of coma; the nature of the injury determines the level of supportive treatment necessary (see artificial life support). Survival and prognosis depend upon the cause, extent of damage, and duration of the coma.

The term persistent vegetative state was coined in 1972 to describe an unconscious state in which sleep and wake cycles remain and eyes may open, but there is no thinking, feeling, or awareness of one's surroundings (although one may react reflexive to certain stimulations). The brain stem is usually relatively intact but the cerebral cortex is severely impaired. It is this state that sometimes results from resuscitation and life support of people who otherwise would have died; partial emergence from such a state sometimes occurs with a year or two, but not after that.

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persistent vegetative state

Med an irreversible condition, resulting from brain damage, characterized by lack of consciousness, thought, and feeling, although reflex activities (such as breathing) continue
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
NHS Choices states : "If a person is diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state, recovery is extremely unlikely but not impossible."
in a permanent vegetative state have about a 4% chance of regaining
Around eight years later, after much soul-searching and an agonising decision, he was released from his permanent vegetative state when the family's application to withdraw all life-sustaining measures was granted by the Royal Courts of Justice.
Davis wrote in her book, Forgetting to be Afraid, that doctors told her that her unborn daughter would "likely" not survive and that even if she did "she would probably be deaf, blind, and in a permanent vegetative state."
The capacity for survival in a Permanent Vegetative State resides in the preservation of hypothalamic and brain-stem autonomic functions.
Common Cause NGO had filed a petition and its lawyer argued that people with advanced terminal diseases and who are likely to enter a permanent vegetative state have the right to execute a "living will", to refuse treatment and die.
Explaining the entire case of living will, Bhushan said, "The issue is whether a person who has been afflicted by an illness, by which he has been rendered unconscious and there is no hope according to the medical opinion of his revival, he is suffering of a terminal illness, or is in a permanent vegetative state, whether he has right to give an advanced directive or leave a will that he should not be kept alive by ventilators or by artificial means and whether the doctors and other people are bound to follow his wishes.
But there have been no fresh updates, fuelling speculation that the German ace could be in a permanent vegetative state.
A healthy baby was born by emergency cesarean delivery, but the mother was left in a permanent vegetative state.
A court paper filed June 27 concerning Mandela family graves said affidavits would be provided from his physicians to show that Mandela "is in a permanent vegetative state."
Johannesburg, Sha'ban 26, 1434, July 05, 2013, SPA -- The South African government has denied that former president Nelson Mandela is in a permanent vegetative state, as outlined in court documents filed on June 26.
Because of an unreasonable delay in obtaining blood from the hospital's blood bank, Jennifer sustained an anoxic brain injury caused by the lack of oxygen carrying blood, leaving her in a permanent vegetative state. She died on October 9, 2003, after life support was withdrawn by her family.

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