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May 16, 2014

Brain Dead is not Dead?

A college student was thought to be declared brain dead and discussions began about harvesting his organs. Thankfully he began to respond to questions before it was too late (from ABC News):

Two years ago, Sam Schmid's close encounter with death was called a "Christmas miracle." As he lay in a coma after sustaining massive brain injuries in a car crash, doctors were discussing organ donation with his parents and ready to take him off life support.

Schmid astounded those at his hospital bedside who thought he was brain dead, raising two fingers to signal he still had life left in him. But at the time, no one knew if the Tucson, Ariz., college student would ever return to his studies -- or even walk or talk again.

Today at 23, he is a force on the basketball court, enrolled in college classes and is hoping to be a veterinary technician. Schmid credits his surgeon and the Center for Transitional Neuro Rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute, where he was recently discharged.

I'm happy for this young man and his family and grateful that the determination of brain death did not lead to a premature true death brought about through medical intervention. Updated: Despite "no signs of life", Schmid's doctor, a renowned neurosurgeon, had a "hunch" he might recover despite the opinions of others and kept him on life support longer ... and gave one last MRI after which he began to respond. An amazing story.




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