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Discussion Topic

After a person suffers severe trauma to the brain, he or she may be artificially kept alive with a series of machines that keep the bodys organs functioning, but cannot repair the damage to the brain. In many countries and states, it is left to the family members to keep the loved one alive or to allow the person to pass on. Either decision is extremely difficult: the loved one could never recover, in which case, the family is forced to shoulder the expense of the treatment and prolong mourning for months or years. Or the loved one could recover, but if the family decided to separate the person from life support, that chance is eliminated.

1. Review this units required reading.

2. Read the following article: “Bringing Back the Unconscious: The Latest Science on Awakenings” (Links to an external site.)

3. Read the following news story: “Awake After 20 Years, Sarah Speaks” (Links to an external site.)

4. Construct a coherent argument for or against keeping someone alive in the case of prolonged unconsciousness. Consider the following:

  • For which conditions do you believe it is humane to allow a person to die? Discuss the different states of unconsciousness: coma, PVS, and MCS.
  • Discuss the potential risk of long-term brain injury, including the possible psychological effects on the family.
  • Explain the ethical issues involved in allowing a person to die or keeping a person artificially alive.
  • Locate and include real-life examples from testimonials and studies of people who have recovered and those who have not, including the video you watched.

5. Post your completed argument to the discussion board for your classmates to view. Your argument should be five to six paragraphs long with strong reasoning and examples.

6. Be sure to read others posts and respond to at least two by adding clarification, asking questions, or otherwise adding constructively to the discussion. Please also be aware this is a sensitive subject, as many classmates may have had to deal with personal experiences on this topic.

“Awake after 20 years, Sarah Speaks” LINK: 

 “Bringing Back the Unconscious: The Latest Science on Awakenings”  LINK: