Facts About Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States After Severe Brain Injury

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Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I have a 37 year old son that went into cardiac arrest two years ago. I don't know how long he was out, paramedics managed to revive him and rushed him to the hospital. He had shut down completely, liver and kidney. He had been 100% dependent on a pacemaker since the age of ten.  Doctors mentioned there is no brain activity, kidney and liver shut down. No sense in doing anything if there is no brain activity.  His aunt prayed over him and he started moving his eyes, squeezed my hand, and he moved his fingers. Told the doctor she said it was reflexes. Then, when he kept doing it on command, they decided to do the pacemaker. He had dialysis for a week, has sclerosis of the liver. Bottom line is keep the faith, I still have my son after two years.

That’s amazing and hopeful. My brother is in the same situation and we’re hopeful. He’s strong. His organs are all functioning. It’s brain activity that has him in a coma state. Eyes open close. He has gag reflex. He was squeezing our hands for few days but that has since stopped. We’re really hoping for more signs that’s he’s going to return to us. So happy to hear you have your son back!

That’s so awesome you still have him . How is he doing ? Did he fully recover ?

My sister coded two days ago during dialysis and is currently on a ventilator and not responding. She is opening her eyes but they are saying it's reflexes too. The Dr. re so pessimistic and very negative. She was deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes. Just like you we are trusting in God. Thank you for sharing your inspiring testimony for God healing powers.

Amen.... Thank you

64 yr old male enters hospital with kidney issues and pain, ends up puking and aspirating early AM in hospital room and is now in ICU almost 5 days from time of "hypoxia brain damage" and no response to pain stimuli or sound or light. Blinks on his own, awake and sleep stages - has heart beat and is over breathing the ventilator - my biggest fear is that we make a decision too soon but not sure what to do next, seems like the hospital we're at is not a good place for Nero and I'm starting to realize they didn't do all the things other people have discussed as part of their treatments - How long should we wait to see if he improves?

Hello everyone, for past few weeks I have been reading everything about coma, vegetative state, etc. My dad had a major cardiac arrest. His heart stopped for 25 min. They resuscitate him and finally came back. He needed stems at his heart so that has been done. The doctors have put him in a induced coma. After one and a half weeks they tried to stop everything. Cutting the story short... now is 5 weeks. He opened his eyes, moved his hand and legs, smiles but there is no consciousness yet! We have fought to get an EEG and waiting for the MRI. The neurologist will assist and hopefully give us some good news. He has progress every day. Every day is a new move or a cheeky little smile. I just hope he will be conscious soon because this is draining. He is in a vegetative state I believe? He reacts at every noise around so I'm not sure if is not classed as minimal consciousness? God bless everyone with this problems. It hurts so much :(

My dad had a major heart attack at home. My brother commenced CPR until the ambulance arrived. He went 40 minutes without oxygen. He had surgery and a stent was inserted. We were told he might not make it through the night. He was in induced coma for 1.5 weeks. He now had aquired a hypoxic brain injury. He unfortunately does not know me or his grandchildren. Hes a completely different person. Not my dad. What I struggle with is all research surrounding at home heart attacks is that only 5% will survive and people who do survive have some type of brain injury. My dad would not want to live like this. Nor do we as a family watching our father detoriate in front of us while physios and doctors try to make dad walk. I love my dad. But the outlook for my dad's life now is awful. He's going to a nursing home. He will need 24 hour care. At 62 years of age. I'm so thankful we can still hold dad's hand. I question the doctors who saved dad's life... what life will dad have? I'm struggling that dad should have passed away and after 40 minutes without oxygen. I do no believe he should of been saved. Am I selfish for thinking this way?

January 14, 2023.....My mother had a brain bleed and her brain cells died. All she could do is just breathe on her own. So very painful to absorb and see her like that. I agreed with the option of Palliative Care as I knew her quality of life would just be very poor. She told me many years ago to not have her live with so many medical issues. On January 18, 2023, she passed away. I am grieving and it is quite painful beyond belief. This was her wish and I wanted her to just wake up and walk out of the hospital. I was reading about grief and came across this post which inspired me to respond. I came across a phrase that sticks with me and it is, "You will forever be my always until we meet again." I miss her so much and feels like a horrible dream.

No. I have been struggling with almost the same situation. Similarly my father had a cardiac arrest at his house, 30-40 minutes of CPR, brought back in the ICU after a week, but diagnoses with hypoxic brain injury. He has been in an acute care facility for the past three months, slowly getting weaned off the ventilator. I feel like I am in a different reality compared to the rest of the family. I don't think this is anything that my dad wanted. I am so scared that he will end up in a nursing home with minimal abilities. I feel like the rest of my family is being selfish. I don't think they are respecting my father's wishes.

My dad was diagnosted with gbm 2 years ago. He had 2 seuizers last sunday. He has not waken up since. They saw multiple blood spots in his brain. It is absolutely devastating to see him like this.

This is an incredibly difficult thing to watch your loved ones endure. Disheartening and frightening. So my heart goes out to those who may be going through this at this time! We lost our daughter last year because of a severe brain injury due to Hypoxia. Dispersed brain death left her in a coma for an extended period of time. We loved her very much and are heartbroken. If you are a loved one looking for answers, I pray for the best possible outcome.

My daughter struggled with anorexia for 4 years. It became a severe mental illness and at age 21 not only did she stop eating but was drinking too, while in a very fragile state. A friend also brought over 'spice' to smoke. By the next day she suffered massive seizures, died and was resuscitated and then was in a coma. She was put in a sub-acute facility (her accident happened while on vacation away from home and our home town didn't have a sub-acute) in Southern California. We had to move there for 1 year to be near her hospital. After 1 yr we brought her home and have been caring for her 24/7 for almost 6 years. Her trachea came out, but she still has a feeding tube, bowels don't work, and she remains non-cognitive, vegetative. The girl we raised is gone but her Spirit is still here. She's like a 6 mo old baby and so we 'play' with her and embrace what is now with joy and peace to keep a quality environment for us all. We trust in God and do not look backward. We accept what is bit always believe miracles are possible I'll be 60 in a couple months, my husband almost 68, so this is a big job for us for the rest of our lives....but home is where hope is in our control. We pray for everyone within this site (I read many of your stories) as we totally feel for each of you. Take care of yourself and find joy in the midst of the storm 💛

I can relate to everyone's condition. My mom is more than a year vegetative, fed thru NGT and on tracheotomy. Totally home cared. I missed my mom so much. My relationship with my mom is so much deeply rooted. Now our home is so quiet, dark, and no activity.

We can lift each other's burden thru prayers we can get in touch via email if anyone is available. Through small contribution in our experience I know we can make a difference in someone's life.


I can see your comment is from 2016. My mother is suffering from the same condition. She is in a vegetative state after suffering a massive heart attack for the past 8 months. On nursing care at home. How is your mother now? Hope she is better now. And I hope I can learn something from your experiences.

Hi my name is lyndsi, right now my family is going through the same thing as your mother. 4 days ago she fell asleep and her oxygen fell off (she has COPD) so she woke up and in a panic that caused her to have a major heart attack. she was found unresponsive and was able to bring her back. It's been for days and she is only responding to pain and she has a gag reflex now, the doctors are saying basically to let her go because she's not responding enough. i feel that is too soon to give up. do you possibly maybe have any insight that you could share with me. I'm 34 and my mom is only 54. im not ready to lose my mommy.

I wouldn’t listen to the doctors. It is too soon to give up. Everyone is different. She could get better. Follow your heart & pray a lot. I’m on your side.

Hello guys.. ..my dad is in vegetative state for 8 months. ..do u have any idea about conscious level after these months?

My daughter suffered a almost total shut down from Diabetic Keto Acidosis. Kidney function was at 4%, coma for 23 days, thereafter a rehabilitation for another 4 weeks, released to my home. I put my life on hold, my career on hold (or rather closed it down). As she recovered slowly, now 2 years later, still cognitive impairment, behavior issues, violent thoughts.  Somehow being her caregiver for 2 years, she has decided she was going to hate me to the point of being verbal to others on how she was going to kill me and my dog because he barks to much. Now I need mental health counseling. Trying to understand the brain damage, the change in her.  It is just so horrific.  The grief and loss is like my old daughter basically died when she got sick. Now this another person inside of her.  Who can't take this personal, the daughter who once loved me now decided somehow in her faulty brain she now hates me.  I know it's not about me, it's about her, her recovery, her wellness. Just looking for information on how the brain works or thinks after such traumatic brain injuries. There was alcohol and drug, as she was a career and single party girl.  She was already exhibiting some extreme mood and behavior changes prior to the DKA. What changes along the line and how a brain could hate someone who only loves you.  LVD

my daughter is 25 and she went into dka from diabetes as well as a thyroid storm. She has a trach and fed thru feeding tube. She tracks us, but no talking. Was in 2 nursing homes and got a 5 inch bedsore that she had to have a skin flap. We brought her home for 2 days, then had to rush her back to the hospital. I am sorry you are gone thru this. I pray that my daughter will smile and I wish you well

My 62 year old father went to the ER on June 10th to get his swollen foot checked out. He did not have diabetes and was relatively healthy except the high blood pressure and cholesterol meds he was taking. During the couple of hours that the doctors were trying to figure out what is wrong, his foot started forming large blisters and turning dark. They rushed into surgery. It turns out he had sepsis due to necrotizing fasciitis (the so-called flesh eating bacteria) on his foot. While debriding the infected tissue, my father suffered a heart attack. They amputated the leg above the knee and worked on reviving him. They say he coded for 45 minutes but finally got a pulse. He got moved to the SICU and was in coma for 5 days. When he finally opened his eyes, he exhibited no consciousness. The neurologists told me the anoxic brain injury was "global" and that he'll never regain any level of consciousness. He was breathing on his own so i had them remove the breathing tube. The neurologists were not 100% correct, because my dad did regain consciousness. He recognized me, my kids, his siblings etc and even though his speech was severely impacted and we couldn't understand clearly what he was saying, he did try to talk and could communicate by nodding his head. He was even able to feed by mouth, despite the neurologist telling me this will not be possible. So those of you out there in despair by what you hear from the doctors, there is always hope! Just keep praying. My father ultimately passed away on July 7th. I miss him every day but I thank God for the extra month that I got with my dad.

Thank you for sharing.

Hi everyone, I have a relative who suffered a TBI almost 2 years ago and was diagnosed as Persistent Vegetative State. Yet after a few months of his injury he deliberately was responding, using his hands, thumbs up etc. however was not offered any rehabilitation due to his diagnosis as the OT who carried out his assessment did not get consistent responses.  There is no doubt that he has full understanding, laughs at jokes, cries at sadness, expresses all emotions as anyone without a brain injury.  He has gone through periods of responding using his hands, turning on command, lifting his limbs, but is losing this and the will to live as he realizes there is no help, even for simple common medical issues.  The medics/social services made everything so difficult as they had a plan for residential care and would not admit that he understood.  After continuously fighting, he eventually got home, and is now being cared for by family but he is not eligible for any services such as physio, nor any equipment to assist.  It appears due to sheer ignorance to his condition he gets left to suffer.  I have endless amounts of electronic recordings demonstrating that he understands, and every relative, visitor and even nurses are now aware of this.  He is now, understandably experiencing panic attacks, yet no help with this either. It is absolutely heart rendering to observe this suffering.  Is there anyone else in this situation.  I would like to publicize this story as I feel as if it is so wrong not to treat, yet allow to live without even ensuring comfort. Are we alone or is this common practice?

I think it is common. My Dad fell and had a traumatic brain injury last year aug 7... had emergency surgery and then was no able to follow commands so they stopped physio... which I got back twice by pleading and then they stopped gain... he smiled, tried to drink a cup of coffee, but could not sit up. He pulled his feeding tube and the doctor said we could put it back in but he would go into fluid overload most likely and begin to get infections. After three days of debating with doctors we took him to hospice and he died 11 days later and to this day I think he would have a better chance if we would have just brought him home. I think he was not as bad as they say and given more time and rehab he would have made it... but hospice is not a place to recover... I hear some people do but not without food or water! Too bad there is not a place that helps people recover from brain injuries. The nursing homes are not good for this type of situation due to infections. I will always second the choice to go to hospice and the only reason I agreed to it was my Dad was clear about his wishes before all that happened and I think he knew what he was doing when he pulled the tube... he was far more aware than they knew... I could tell, but the doctors didn’t see it.

I am in the exact same situation as you are! It’s so sad!

My fiancee has anoxic brain injury. It has been a year yesterday. I never give up hope and I hope nobody ever does on there loved one. The brain is tricky and you never know love is also a tricky thing

Amen .. my husband has a anoxic brain injury from asthma attack which put him into cardiac arrest. He opens his eyes feels pain stimuli in feet . Concentrates on me but doesn’t track . This happened in aug 21 2021 . I have faith Jesus is waking my husband up . The brain can be damaged a million ways but can heal in a trillion ways .
I agree with you never lose hope

My husband went into cardiac arrest July 9. 2022. He was deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes. In the interim he suffered 2 additional cardiac arrests in less than 6 months. The doctors wanted me to pull the plug and I refused. He is currently off the ventilator with a trach cuff and breathing on his own. I prayed for months for him to open his eyes and within the past month he has continuously opened his eyes, he moves his legs and feet, his head and reacts to touch and surroundings. The doctors said he would never respond. He does not follow commands, but his response to many things is encouraging. I don't know the outcome but I have faith. Don't ever give up. I am not a religious fanatic, but the doctors are not God. They base their opinions on text and clinical statistics but again, they are not God. Be strong although it gets very difficult at times. Keep the faith, talk to your love ones and research positive information that will help you improve your love ones condition whether it be stimulating music, exercise or whatever it takes to help bring them back if God sees fit. Don't give up. Life is worth fighting for

Hi Jen, my dad also has an anoxic brain injury. It’s been three weeks and he sometimes opens his eyes and gets really shaky. He coughs and lifts one arm up, but not on command. Only when he is being touched, it’s hard but we are a Christian family and we have faith. If I can get in touch with you, that would be great, I want to talk to people that are going through the same thing

Hi there,

My dad is in a similar situation - 9 days in. Did your dad ever wake up?

Hey Kimberly my husband has anoxic brain injury since Jan 12 2022 he's in a vegetative state opens his eyes and responds to stumli but doesn't respond to commands I've been praying every day and night God will work his miracles on his sick people! How is your dad doing?

I know this is a very old post but if you don't mind me asking...how are things? Not at a year but 9 months

My heart goes out to everyone on here. My husband suffered a TBI almost 13 years ago. He lives at home with me and has since he was released from the hospital. I will never give up hope as long as he is breathing. He is in a vegetative state and has been the whole time. I talked to him all the time and pray he is still in there. I loved him so much.

God bless you and give you strength.

I believe that there are three new ways to help people with brain injuries:

(1) Hypobaric chamber:  Gives the brain more oxygen, and therefore heals an injured brain with dramatic effect.

(2) Fish Oil INTRAVENOUSLY fed into the blood stream.  Again, it heals the injured brain with dramatic effect.

(3) Coconut oil. Heals the brain and reverses Alzheimer's disease.  If it can reverse Alzheimer's, it is powerful in healing brain injuries.

God bless you all.


This is a fraudulent statement. Alzheimer's disease IS not reversed from coconut oil

My dad will be released and in my care in a few days. He's had a stroke and caused a hemorrhage deep in his brain. I would like to know further information on your advice. I consider natural organic resources overall...

My 82 year old mother had a fall in the bathroom 10 days ago, fractured her shoulder badly and hit her head and face. Apparently no concussion or damage to the brain had successful surgery 1.5 hrs of shoulder replacement + 1.5 hrs of hard work by the anesthesiologist. Woke up after operation and improved over the next two days only then to fall into a deep sleep. MRI scanning and blood tests show no anomalies. But she will not wake up after now another 3 days of sleep. Doctors at a loss to determine the cause. My wife terribly distraught. Anybody with similar experience?

My father,75+ met with an accident and undergoes brain surgery. Even After one month of surgery he opens his eyes four five times in a day for 5 seconds only. Although he has movements in his left hand, both leg fingers. All test reports and ct scan is normal. But still his body is not showing adequate requiry as shown in tests. Doctor say such patient takes longer period to recover and some time they remain at same state.

Very informative. Thanks

I'm praying for you.....I have a daughter your son's age.

I have recently been in touch with BIA of Wisconsin. I am at a loss for helping my son (28 Yrs old) find a family physician in the Applton area. We are 4 years post and have come to the conclusion that there really is no where else to go to get him help. He has a severe TBI. His nerosurgeon refused to put his bone flaps back in so we are always stared at and drs don't want to work with us, (aspirin dr). We are unable to have therapy because the progress doesn't meet the standards of medicaid / medicare. I refuse to let my son continue to loose what he has. He will not be housed in a nursing home. He is "in there" and i will continue to work with him. 

Anyone in the Appleton area know of a pcp who works with tbi patients please let me know

I sure understand what you're going through. My mom had bacterial meningitis that made her brain swell and had several mini strokes through out her brain...devastating. This happen back in April, she's out of coma but went into vegetative stage. I wish I could know if she has any chances of getting out of it. .

Hi. Sorry to hear what your going thru with your mom. I pray she gets better. May I ask how is she now?

My mom, who is my best friend, had a significant stroke in November 2015, she has underlining dementia, which makes everything worse. That stroke left her with behavioral changes and loss of bladder and bowel control, but could eat, drink, walk and talk. A blessing. Well, yesterday she had a massive stroke. She was starting to move all limbs, I am not sure if these were voluntary or not, but I believe they were. When I asked her to squeeze my fingers, she pushed that arm and brought it up to her chest. They did put her on a ventilator to increase oxygen. Today they were going to do more tests, ween off the ventilator and asked us to take our time coming to visit since they didn't want us to stimulate her at all. It is so hard to see her like that. I am very very close to my parents and this is all devastating And bless you all, I am at a lost.

My brother had a stroke and I am unfortunately unable to be with him at the hospital as I live in another. All I know is what a sibling described after visiting him there. They described him as being "in and out" and resting and his speech is very incoherent. Is this the sign of a massive stroke and is he in a sort of vegetative state?

My father got sick (sepsis and mrsa) dr. Said probably no chance of recovery, only organ working was his heart! After two days the woman who called herself his wife said "she was tired, pull the plug " it was horrible to watch my father suffocate, I had to leave. Every day I wish I would have tried something, anything? There must have been a better way! My love goes out to all who suffer.

HBOT has a positive effect, try it my blog explains  https://mathewhomberger.wordpress.com

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is 89.4% effective at healing anoxic brain injuries I am currently sitting in a wheelchair and have been for 4 years From a methadone overdose that caused me to get choked I remained in a coma 2 1/2 months after sucking the food I got choked on into my right lung I'm alright mentally and am still intelligent as I was but still need to walk I pray I get the help I need soon this happened to me at 17 and I'm 22 now we had a benefit for me but didn't raise enough bc oxygen therapy us not supported by my Insurance A lot more stuff happened to me but I don't really need to get into all that. Let me just tell you real quick a lil of what I went through because I do remember a lot ... At first I couldn't speak my mouth would move but no sound I was Cortically blind and to top it all off I couldn't move On emerging from the coma and I am 6'4" I only have 5,000$ and I need at least 15000 and I have a feeling that after so much time has passed I won't be able to walk again I've been through all therapies my advice to anyone who reads this get anyone who has had had a tbi abi or anyone with a brain injury the help they need best of wishes to you all and good luck

My sister is 38 years old she had asthma attack heart attack, with no oxygen up until 9 minutes is it any way that she will make it out of this, okay right now she's unconscious she has not been with us for about a week and a half,