Thursday 17 January 2013

TO BE OR NOT TO BE. It’s no longer a monologue.

It’s a chorus, of doctors, lawyers, and family members, at least it is for Hassan Rasouli, a man in a coma. The quality of his life is zero, for which Sunnybrook Hospital bills Canada Health $ 2000/day. The doctors see no sense in keeping Rasouli on life support, but his family wants him to live. So the matter is in the courts now, and the judges will decide who decides.

Doctors can now determine whether you are in a total coma or still firing a few neutrons. Adrian Owen of the University of Western Ontario has developed a method to pinpoint your state. He asks you to envisage a tennis game and observes the areas lighting up in your brain. Okay, that would work for me. Here is my code, Dr. Owen. One ball: I want to be disconnected. Two balls: Keep me going. I’m pretty sure I can beat you at tennis.

But maybe it’s better to leave the decision to a third party.

For example, I could let my blog followers decide when I should be taken off life support. But wait. Hold it. There are 28 of them at present. What if they are evenly split? I need at least one more follower. So come on! Anyone out there who wants to join now and kill me off later?

Alternatively I could draw up a living will directing my sons to hire me out as a crash dummy. Think of it: Money for them, head-banging excitement for me! Way more excitement than playing MRI tennis with Dr. Owen, right?

Or: I could direct my sons to apply on my behalf for a job in the Department of Revenue and Taxation. Judging by their glacial speed answering my queries, they must have comatose people on staff already. And why not? They blend in nicely with the corporate culture.

Or: Maybe my sons can talk Hollywood into a sequel to THE SESSIONS, in which a polio victim experiences sex with a therapist. How about EXTREME SESSIONS, with a comatose… Okay, I hear you retching. Fine. I’m dropping the idea, but the fact is that the comatose are under-represented in public. There is a huge gap in the services available to them. If you ask me, they don’t need advocates. They need event organizers. Don’t you think they’d love COMAparties or COMAfests or COMAthons for charity?

I’m asking you: Where is private enterprise when we need it?

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