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Dead Reckoning

Two years ago a comatose Terri Schiavo became the centre of a great political debate in the United States when her parents challenged her husband's decision to remove her feeding tube and let her die.

The US Supreme Court, however, ruled in the husband's favour. Fortunately, a post-mortem backed his contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding massive and irreversible brain damage not compatible with consciousness or life.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of thousands of others who suffer from consciousness disorders patients who are normally considered beyond treatment since they are incapable of communication or responding to external stimuli.

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