Facts About Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States After Severe Brain Injury

Mark Sherer, Ph.D., Monica Vaccaro, M.S., John Whyte, MD, Ph.D., Joseph T. Giacino, Ph.D., and the Consciousness Consortium, Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center
Facts About the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States After Severe Brain Injury

Severe brain injury causes a change in consciousness. Consciousness refers to awareness of the self and the environment. Brain injury can cause a wide range of disturbances of consciousness. Some injuries are mild and may cause relatively minor changes in consciousness such as brief confusion or disorientation.

The most severe injuries cause profound disturbance of consciousness. Twenty to 40% of persons with injuries this severe do not survive. Some persons who survive have a period of time of complete unconsciousness with no awareness of themselves or the world around them. The diagnosis given these people depends on whether their eyes are always closed or whether they have periods when their eyes are open. The state of complete unconsciousness with no eye opening is called coma. The state of complete unconsciousness with some eye opening and periods of wakefulness and sleep is called the vegetative state. As people recover from severe brain injury, they usually pass through various phases of recovery. Recovery can stop at any one of these phases.

Characteristics of coma

  • No eye-opening
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • No speech or other forms of communication
  • No purposeful movement

Characteristics of the vegetative state

  • Return of a sleep-wake cycle with periods of eye opening and eye closing
  • May moan or make other sounds especially when tight muscles are stretched
  • May cry or smile or make other facial expressions without apparent cause
  • May briefly move eyes toward persons or objects
  • May react to a loud sound with a startle
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • No speech or other forms of communication
  • No purposeful movement

Persons in coma or vegetative state require extensive care that may include:

  • Feeding using a feeding tube
  • Turning in bed to prevent pressure sores
  • Special bedding to help prevent pressure sores
  • Assistance with bowel and bladder relief using catheter and/or diapers
  • Management of breathing such as suctioning of secretions; this may include care for a tracheostomy tube
  • Management of muscle tone (excessive tightness of muscles)
  • Special equipment that may include a wheelchair or special bedding to help with proper posture and decrease muscle tightness
  • Management of infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections
  • Management of other medical issues such as fever, seizures, etc.

What happens after coma and vegetative state?

When people start to regain consciousness, they may:

  • follow simple instructions from others such as, “Open your eyes,” “Squeeze my hand,” “Say your name,” etc.;
  • communicate by speaking words or by indicating yes or no by head nods or gestures; and/or
  • use a common object in a normal way such as brushing hair with a brush, using a straw to drink, holding a phone to the ear, etc.

Persons with brain injury transition through the period of unconsciousness and subsequent stages of recovery at a slower or faster rate, largely depending on the severity of injury. Those with less severe injuries may transition through these stages more rapidly and some of the stages described here may be poorly recognized or not occur at all. Those with very severe injuries may stall at one or another stage and not be able to make the transition to a higher level of recovery.

For persons with more prolonged periods of unconsciousness, emergence from unconsciousness is a gradual process. Coma rarely lasts more than 4 weeks. Some patients move from coma to the vegetative state but others may move from coma to a period of partial consciousness. It would be very rare for a person to move directly from coma, or vegetative state, to a state of full consciousness.

Persons who have shorter periods of unconsciousness likely had less severe brain injuries initially. Consequently, they are likely to go on to make better recoveries than persons who had longer periods of unconsciousness.

Traumatic brain injury refers to damage to the brain caused by external force such as a car crash or a fall. About 50% of persons who are in a vegetative state one month after traumatic brain injury eventually recover consciousness. They are likely to have a slow course of recovery and usually have some ongoing cognitive and physical impairments and disabilities. People in a vegetative state due to stroke, loss of oxygen to the brain (anoxia) or some types of severe medical illness may not recover as well as those with traumatic brain injury. Those few persons who remain in a prolonged vegetative state may survive for an extended period of time but they often experience medical complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, infections, etc. which may reduce life expectancy.

People who have a slow recovery of consciousness continue to have a reduced level of self-awareness or awareness of the world around them. They have inconsistent and limited ability to respond and communicate. This condition of limited awareness is called the minimally conscious state.

Characteristics of the minimally conscious state

  • Sometimes follows simple instructions
  • May communicate yes or no by talking or gesturing
  • May speak some understandable words or phrases
  • May respond to people, things, or other events by:
    • crying, smiling, or laughing;
    • making sounds or gesturing;
    • reaching for objects;
    • trying to hold or use an object or
    • keeping the eyes focused on people or things for a sustained period of time whether they are moving or staying still.

People in a minimally conscious state do these things inconsistently. For example, one time the person might be able to follow a simple instruction and another time they might not be able to follow any instructions at all. This makes it difficult to distinguish the vegetative state from the minimally conscious state.

While in a minimally conscious state, people need extensive care similar to that needed by people in a vegetative state.

Emergence from the minimally conscious state

Once a person can communicate, follow instruc tions, or use an object such as a comb or pencil consistently, they are no longer in a minimally conscious state. Some people remain minimally conscious indefinitely, but many improve. The longer a person remains in a minimally conscious state, the more permanent impairments he or she is likely to have. This is because vegetative and minimally conscious states are caused by severe damage to multiple brain areas. Following emergence from the minimally conscious state, people almost always experience confusion. Sometimes people move directly from coma to this confusional state.

Comparison of Coma, Vegetative State, and Minimally Conscious State



Vegetative State

Minimally Conscious State

Eye Opening




Sleep/Wake Cycles




Visual Tracking




Object Recognition




Command Following








Contingent Emotion




Characteristics of the confusional state

  • Disorientation (inability to keep track of the correct date and place)
  • Severe impairment in attention, memory and other mental abilities
  • Fluctuation in level of responsiveness
  • Restlessness
  • Nighttime sleep disturbance
  • 6. Excessive drowsiness and sleeping during the day
  • Delusions or hallucinations

As with the vegetative and minimally conscious states, the rate and extent of recovery from the confused state vary from person to person. However, almost all people who reach the confused state go on to make further progress. The main factors that determine the eventual degree of recovery are the initial severity of the brain injury and some types of additional medical problems. The shorter the time the person is in the confused state, the better the eventual recovery will be. Mild medical complications such as sleep disturbance or urinary tract infection may prolong the confused state but do not necessarily influence the final outcome.

Once the confusional state resolves, people are usually much better able to pay attention, orient themselves to place and time, and retain memories for day to day experiences. Nevertheless, they are very likely to have some significant cognitive problems such as impaired memory or slowed thinking. These cognitive problems are likely to continue to improve as time passes. Some people make limited progress, while others make a good deal of progress.

Patterns of recovery after very severe brain injury

Some individuals rapidly emerge from coma and briefly remain in the minimally conscious state before recovering a higher level of consciousness with mild impairments. Others may have a longer period in the minimally conscious state after emerging from the vegetative state and then usually have a greater degree of long-term impairment. Occasionally, persons remain in the vegetative or minimally conscious state for an extended period of time and, in rare cases, these conditions may be permanent.

What treatments are used with people in the vegetative or minimally conscious state?

Currently, there is no treatment that has been proven to speed up or improve recovery from the vegetative or minimally conscious state. However, there is general agreement that the primary focus of medical care is to prevent or treat any factors that might hinder recovery (such as hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain, or use of sedating drugs for other conditions), and to preserve bodily health (such as treating infections or stiffness of joints). Medical facilities and clinicians vary in the extent to which they try various treatments such as medications or sensory stimulation to promote recovery of consciousness. Because the amount of recovery from disorders of consciousness varies so greatly, it is difficult to judge the value of these and other treatments outside of research studies. You can inquire about your physician or program’s philosophy about using these types of treatments.

Transitions to different levels of care

At various points in the process of recovery, persons in the minimally conscious or vegetative state may receive care in a wide range of settings. Initially, the person with severely impaired consciousness is most likely to be treated in an acute care hospital where the focus is primarily on saving his/her life and stabilizing him/her medically. Once that is achieved, the next focus is on recovery of function to whatever level is possible. Sometimes this happens in an acute rehabilitation hospital, which provides a high intensity program of rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, recreational therapy, neuropsychological services and medical services.

Some patients do not transition from the acute care hospital to an acute rehabilitation program. These people may go directly to a skilled nursing facility, a sub-acute rehabilitation program, a nursing home, or even home with family. Persons discharged from an acute rehabilitation program usually go to one of these places as well. Skilled nursing facilities, sub-acute rehabilitation programs, and nursing homes vary widely in the quantity and quality of medical management, nursing care, and rehabilitation therapy services they provide.

Many factors influence decisions about where a person with severe impairment of consciousness or other severe impairments may go after discharge from the acute care hospital or discharge from the acute rehabilitation program. Some of these factors are the person’s medical condition, health insurance coverage and other benefits, the person’s ability to tolerate rehabilitation therapies, the doctor’s philosophy about where people should go to continue to recover after severe injuries, the family’s ability to care for the person at home, the family’s wishes, and practical matters such as that the distance the family has to travel to visit the person at the facility.

The names used to describe levels of care and the settings in which they are provided, vary across the country. It is helpful to work with a social worker or case manager in the facility where your loved one is currently receiving services to plan whatever transitions are necessary. Do not be afraid to ask questions to make sure that you obtain the information you need to help you make the best possible decision.

Things to look for when considering a setting to care for your loved one:

At various points in the process of recovery, persons in the minimally conscious or vegetative state may receive care in a wide range of settings. These include in-patient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term acute care facilities. The following are some considerations for selecting a place for care:

  • Your family member’s current treatment team has had good experiences with the program when they have referred others there.
  • The staff at the facility makes you feel comfortable, is accessible to talk with about your concerns, and answers your questions.
  • The program and medical staff have experience working with the same kinds of problems that your family member has.
  • The facility is informed about the specifics of the care your loved one needs and is able to meet these care needs. You can have a role in ensuring that a detailed nursing plan of care is developed.
  • The program includes case management to assist in planning for the next level of service, whether it is transition to a rehabilitation program, a facility for long-term care, or home.
  • The program provides education and training for future caregivers.
  • The program uses specific procedures to measure progress.

If support services can be arranged, some persons in the minimally conscious or vegetative state can be cared for at home.

Thoughts from families who have been there

Family members who have a loved one in a minimally conscious or vegetative state have identified a number of important issues:

  • Communicating with healthcare providers
    Be sure to ask questions, share your observations, and express your opinions.
  • Managing medical equipment and supplies
    It is important to be knowledgeable about your loved one’s equipment and supplies, and know how to communicate with the companies who provide these items.
  • Providing care
    Family members often provide some of the care for their loved ones. The amount of care you provide will depend on your role in providing care (this can range from providing most of the care yourself to simply directing the care provided by others), the people such as sitters, attendants, nurses, and family members who are available to help you with providing care, the setting (this could be your home or a skilled nursing facility), and the guidance you receive from health care providers. It is desirable to obtain as much training as possible to provide whatever elements of care you chose to provide and are able to manage. These might include bathing, grooming, bowel and bladder management, mobility, range of motion, and other medical issues that your loved one may have.
  • Learning about financial resources
    You may initially feel overwhelmed when you start to learn about various financial resources that may be appropriate for your loved one. However, with patience, persistence, and some help from others, you will be able to figure out which programs apply and find your way through the application processes.

    Programs you will want to learn about include:

    • Healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
    • Income replacement or financial assistance programs such as SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), SSI (Supplemental Security Income), or possibly disability insurance policies that you loved one may have had through work.
    • Services to help with community living such as state agencies that assist people in these areas.

    It might not be possible to find someone who knows everything about how to access these various services and programs. The key is to keep asking questions and following up to make sure that you and your loved one get all the benefits that are available. People who may be helpful to you are social workers, therapists, case managers, the local social security office, your state brain injury association chapter, family members or friends who are disabled or who have family who are disabled, or the human resources (personnel) department at your loved one’s employer.

  • Guardianship
    Since your loved one is not able to fully make decisions for himself or herself, it may be helpful for you, or someone else, to be appointed guardian. This may make it easier to handle medical decision making or management of your loved one’s financial matters. If you think that your loved one may need to have a guardian appointed, you will need to contact an attorney to get assistance. Guardianship can be reversed when it is no longer needed.

How to interact with your loved one who is unconsciousness or at a low level of responsiveness

The most natural way of interacting is to talk to your loved one, even though he or she may not respond or understand. Simple things like telling him or her about recent events in your life, what is going on in your family or neighborhood, or the latest news might make you feel a sense of connection. Talking with your loved one about what you are doing as you provide care can increase your comfort with the process of care giving. For example, telling your loved one that you are going to move his or her arms and legs to help prevent joint tightness might make you feel more comfortable with this task. Only do this “range of motion” type activity if you have been instructed to do so by the doctor, nurse, or therapist.

Physical touch is another way of having a sense of connection. Some family members have said that the act of giving a massage or applying lotion to the hands or face helps them to feel close to their loved one. It is also important to avoid the risk of overstimulation as this may result in rapid breathing, tightening of the muscles, grinding of the teeth, restlessness and fatigue.

Taking care of yourself and other family members

Family members of a person in a vegetative or minimally conscious state often feel a sense of loss or grief for the relationship they had prior to the injury. There can be a number of ways to cope with these feelings. A person in a minimally conscious or vegetative state may make very slow progress or go for periods of time with no apparent progress. Sometimes keeping a journal of the changes you have observed may be comforting. This may give you a chance to look back and see ways in which he or she is more able to respond than he or she was at an earlier point in time.

Having a loved one who is in a vegetative or minimally conscious state can be physically and emotionally draining. Managing this alone can be too much to ask of one person. It is important to rely on support from others, looking to existing supports and developing new ones. You might find help from supports you have relied on in the past, such as family, friends, and religious groups.

Other resources to consider include support groups, support agencies, and the Internet. A good way to learn more about these possible supports is to make a contact with the Brain Injury Association of America’s National Brain Injury Information Center (www.biausa.org, 1-800-444-6443) and obtain contact information for the closest state brain injury association (BIAA) chapter. Health care providers such as doctors, therapists, social workers and others can be good sources of information about supports available to you.

Even the most committed caregiver needs to have some private time. If your loved one is at home, this can range from having a friend or family member give you a 2 hour break to go do something for yourself to having full time caregivers for a week or having your loved one spend a brief time in a nursing care facility or hospital. If your loved one is still in the hospital or living in a nursing care facility, having a rotating visitation schedule can give you some breaks while giving other friends and family a chance to spend time with him or her.

When your loved one was first injured you were likely to be in crisis mode, focusing on the problems and putting the rest of life on hold. As time goes by, you will need to shift from crisis management mode, and begin to take care of the concerns of everyday life such as paying bills, maintaining relationships with other family members, and taking care of your own physical and mental health. While it is natural to focus on your injured loved one, other members of your family will have needs too. For some people, formal counseling with a therapist or member of the clergy can be an important part of making adjustments to life changes that have occurred as a result of your loved one’s injury.

While caring for a person in a vegetative or minimally conscious state is an enormous challenge, use of appropriate resources, as described above, can be a big help. Each person will respond differently to this challenge, but almost everyone can cope and move forward. Many family members have a deep sense of personal satisfaction in making life as comfortable and pleasant as possible for a loved one who has sustained a severe injury.

VS-MCS brochure authorship and acknowledgement:

Written by: Mark Sherer, Ph.D., Monica Vaccaro, M.S., John Whyte, MD, Ph.D., Joseph T. Giacino, Ph.D., and the Consciousness Consortium. Members of the Consciousness Consortium include:

  • JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, NJ (Lead Center)–Joseph T. Giacino, Ph.D., P.I.
  • Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, PA (Co-Lead Center)–John Whyte, MD, Ph.D., P.I. and Sooja Cho, MD, Site P.I.
  • Methodist Rehabilitation Center, MS–Stuart A. Yablon, MD, P.I.
  • Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, MA–Douglas Katz, MD, P.I.
  • Sunnyview Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, NY–Paul Novak, MS, OTR, P.I.
  • Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, PA–David Long, MD, P.I.
  • Texas NeuroRehab Center, TX–Nancy Childs, MD, P.I.
  • Fachkrankenhaus Neresheim, Germany–Bernd Eifert, MD, Ph.D., P.I.

Acknowledgements: Funding for writing and publication of this brochure was provided by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research grant #H133A031713 (A Multicenter Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of Amantadine Hydrochloride in Promoting Recovery of Function Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury).

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA; www.biausa.org) provided feedback from the consumer perspective for the content of this brochure and is assisting with dissemination of these materials.

Several family members of persons with TBI generously gave their time and valuable insights to assist with the writing of this brochure.

Posted on BrainLine March 25, 2010. Reviewed March 28, 2019.
About the Authors

The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center is operated by American Institutes for Research (AIR) and is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) under grant number 90DP0082. Four additional organizations support AIR in executing the work of the MSKTC, including George Mason University's Center for Chronic Illness and Disability, WETA's BrainLine, University of Alabama, INOVA, and American Association of People with Disabilities.

Sherer M, Vaccaro M, Whyte J, Giacino JT, & the Consciousness Consortium. Facts about the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States after Severe Brain Injury 2007. Houston: The Consciousness Consortium. Copyright © 2018 by University of Washington/MSKTC. 

Please check the MSKTC site for any recent updates on this article.

Comments (258)

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.

Very informative article.. My sister is 20 yes old and suffer an anoxic brain injury from the loss of oxygen. Her air ways collapsed after a week of chemotherapy from leukemia, this happened 12/23/13. Although we have heard nothing but negativity, I am believing God for a recovery in her health. She has been in a vegetative state since last December..

How do u help a vegetative patient with his recovery

My Mom is in Coma since 1st August 2014, after having the MRI Scan done we got to know the Final Diagnosis as Basilar Artery Thrombosis with Bilateral Cerebellar Infarct and Right PCA Infarct. I understand these are multiple brain clots which occur as we did not precautionary measures in regards to blood pressures , never had check up for blood pressure regularly. Please pray for my mom and advice in regards to her speedy recovery from coma.  Anand Pillay 9922617714.

My mom is in the same state, but I am confident that praying always work. Do not Fear and Trust God.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of people in a coma or vegetative state. My brother in law, Eric is 54 years old and he is in a permanent vegetative state after a liver transplant. He had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver a year ago. On his last hospital visit with an encelopathy episode (which is where ammonia backs up into his brain); he lapsed into a coma. He was transferred to another hospital to await a liver transplant. On transport he suffered a stroke , and remained in the coma state. The Doctors decided to proceed with the liver transplant as he was in a severely declining state. We asked why they would give a new liver to him when he was comatose and they said he would die without it. 

He remained in a coma after the operation. We were told he might possibly come out of it once the new liver kicked in. We noticed positive health changes almost immediately. However, he was still comatose. Then he was put on dialysis because his kidneys were failing. He had several MRI's, CT scans and other exploratory procedures. Every week there was something different that needed attention.

After a few weeks he opened his eyes. But there was no tracking or response to stimulation. Nothing really has changed in 4 months. He was transferred to a sub-acute hospital. And has had to return to the transplant hospital on subsequent occasions.

My sister and I feel he would not want to be in this condition. His family is on opposite ideals. They keep saying he wanted his liver transplant more than anything so he would be able to live a fuller life with his family. I believe life expectancy for liver transplants is only 5 years in most cases. The family keeps saying things like, "Oh...he moves his hands. He can move his head. etc. Once my sister and I played a song by the Beach Boys and we noticed a single tear in his eye. We hoped it was in response to the song which used to be one of his favorites. But we have been told he is just having normal reflexes and is not conscious of his actions. 

Eric was a champion wrestler. He was supposed to go to the Olympics the year President Carter cancelled USA involvement in the games. He has always been a loving and kind man. I know he indeed did everything possible by the book to be able to receive his liver transplant. But I can also say for sure he would not want to be in a vegetative state and unable to function. No one would.

I guess my main question is in regards to the patient's state of being. Are they in a deep sleep of nothingness? Or is their spirit caught between two worlds...one where they are in a hospital bed , unable to communicate to their loved ones and the Doctors...or are they halfway in the next dimension? I would prefer to believe Eric is in Heaven, hanging out with his Mother and his favorite dogs. 

May God Bless each one of you. You are warriors for your loved ones.

So kind of your valuable information Thx & regards

I'm 17 and a childhood friend of mine was ejected from a car while riding home from beach week.. It has only been a few days but she still hasn't woke up.. Praying for her and her family. You can do this girl.

My brother met with an accident in 2009 n since then been in a vegetative state..Been 5yrs now..draining mentally for everyone around..but we are still hoping for the best..

My brother aged 60,suffered a massive stroke and has been in a minimally conscious  state for almost a year. I am sad he is no longer who he was, no amount of medical care has helped. Our family cannot believe doctors failed to clearly explain his status for a real future. He is clearly suffering and would not want to be "Preserved" like some experiment. I think he will live in this horrible state for many years to come. It is wrong! There needs to be some way to release him from his misery.

Thanks for the article. This is really helpful. My father suffered with cardiac arrest followed by hypoxic brain injury 3 months before,now he is in vegetative state. We are waiting for miracle should happen. Doctors says it's wait and watch process and there is no treatment for hypoxic brain injury in allopathic. We started giving him ayurvedic treatment now as those doctors are very hopeful and stated that there is treatment for anoxia.

Im gonna say an angel has been by my friends side. She has been in a deep coma for 108 days, she is now moving her hands and lifting her head. I am so excited.

My Father is in vegetative state. He opens his eyes when we ask him anything. Don't understand whether he understands anything or not.............

This was veer helpful.  Thank. You

Thank you so much for all nice information about coma, recovery and  stages of


My husband had a removal of a brain tunour December 2012. Unfortunately he was taken to a ward postop and not ITU as expected following major brain op. The op was successful but the following morning was put on life support due to brain swelling. He was then rushed to theatre to have a craniotomy. He has been diagnosed as the minimally conscious patient. Unfortunately when he was transferred to our local hospital because he didn't score high on assessments he was deemed non rehabitable and I was told that he would go to a home. Through sheer determination and fight I managed to get my husband into a specialist rehab centre.He has been there a few weeks and already making progress albeit slow. I too pray for a miracle and through my journey I've seen a few so never ever give up.

I'm going threw the same thing my sons been in the hospital since january 31 and he's barly opening his eyes he was in a deep coma for about 1 month and a half with lack of oxygen to his brain the doctors said he was brain dead but he's been having movements and he knows we are there by he's side we are hanging in there but behare if bedsores my son got that from nurses not moving my son what ever doctors and nurses say to you say things back to them they don't like it your loved one is important to you and your love one can hear you and they know you are fighting for them to get better

My mom (75 yrs old) was found unconscious at home a week ago. We believe that she lay there unconscious for probably a good part of the day. The paramedics were able to give her something to kind of bring her out of it and once at the hospital we found out that her kidneys were failing due to rhabdomyolysis(break down of muscle releasing toxins into the blood stream). After many test we learned she had a small stroke. She was in and out of consciousness and was able to recognize and speak with us for brief moments. Several days later she had another stroke and she has been in a vegetative state since(4days now). Her eyes opened 5 times yesterday but did not focus and there has been slight movement but no awareness that we are there, no following of commands etc...Wed..her lung collapsed due to pneumonia and they had to place her on a ventilator. I am beside myself with worry and don't know if the movement and eye opening we are seeing is actually her trying to wake up or involuntary. I feel for all of you who are in a similar situation with loved ones and I will pray for healing for all of them.

I would read this interview real carefully if I were you:


Thank you for this very informative, great article!!!

My ex- husband is in a vegetative state from diabetic ketoacidosis and is currently in CCU. They will be doing an EEG on him tomorrow to see if he still has brain activity.

My daughter went into a coma from low blood sugar in her sleep, and is still unresponsive after 4 months--any one out there know of any other person ever going into a comatose state from diabetes

My husband is in a deep coma since last 25 days. It started with a flu and then an infection of meninges and then went on to become meningo encephalitis  . Doctors say they don't know the root cause or the treatment and his situation is irrecoverable. I just have faith to stick on to.waiting for a miracle.

My mother is 51 years old and she had suffered a heart attack, and cardiac arrest 6 months ago. As a result she lost oxygen to the brain and was diagnosed with anoxic brain injury. The MRI showed that the cortex of her brain is very damaged. The neurologists tell us that she will not recover from this vegetative state because her brain is too damaged. This has been so difficult on our family and our lives have been turned upside down. We love my mom so much and will do everything for her. Thank you for the informative article.
By reading this article and reading the comments of those like myself trying to understand and live each day hoping for a miracle for a loved one.My spouse had cardiac arrest 6 months ago due to a blood clot and then a heart attack. I was so hopeful the first time he opened his eyes and when a tear fell from his eye while speaking to him 4 weeks ago,but then the doctors and nurses told me it's "stimoli",I want to believe that he hears and senses his loved ones near.I have lost weight and had hair-loss remaining with him each day for hours once he was admitted to the Neurologia Ward,forgetting that the patient(our loved ones) are in professional hands and being cared for. I don't know what the future holds but I do know that with the help of my family, true friends,my prayer-group and now a therapist(psychologist)I need to get on with my life day by day. I need to face my students as a teacher without showing my intense pain, I need to start taking care of myself, to avoid becoming ill from sufferance.I pray each day for a miracle,only the Lord knows.Prayer has helped me. The question is "why me?", it really is "why not me"?.I'll remember you and your loved ones in my prayers,it doesn't matter if you are religious or not, we are experiencing so much in common ,therefore I can only say thankyou once more for this article that has given me more insight into VC.
thank you for providing such a valuable information.i am praying to God to help all of them who are going through these hard times.i am passing through the same...it feels very sad..and we are also waiting for a miracle.
was helpful !! thank you..
great article...everything needed is apt and to the point.. short and perfect...great job..thanks a lot..god bless..
This is very helpful and informative. Being there and through it now, this makes it more clear in the sea of unknowns.
Great article. It helped me understand my sister's (who is living in other country) conditions and chances of recovery. Thank you.
I would like to thank those who took the time to write such a clear explanation to which I am now finding my youngest son (31) to be in. He was ejected from a car when it rolled 3 weeks ago. He is in a coma. The medical staff seem to be so negative and don\'t want to give false hope. I believe that I have seen some recognition and trying to communicate by arm movements, blinking of the eyelid and tears coming down the sides of his cheeks. We are still praying for a miracle and for him to wake up. He has 4 small children and a wife and many, many others who love and miss him.
I find this information to be very helpful, i understand now what happened to my stepmother and will pass this information onto the other family member's. Thank you so much , we as well are praying for a miracle !!
I wish I had known these stages 4 years ago when my husband suffered a TBI from a fall in China. His surgery there--since they put his skull back on--harmed him more than the initial injury. The doctors in Hong Kong, who treated him after we were evacuated were very honest with me about his prognosis, but no doctors in the U.S. ever outlined these conditions to us, and all we heard about was "waxing and waning," without much explanation of what that meant in spite of our best efforts. This would have helped us communicate better with the staff of the acute rehab hospital to which he went after being stabilized.
the article is very well written and useful to understand the various stages of coma and how to deal with the person in vegetative state.I am sad that my dad who was hake and hearty 50 days ago, is lying on the bed in this state. I have firm belief in Sai and i know he wont break my trust.Miracle will happen and i am going to talk and walk with dad again. Sai cannot let anything go wrong with me becoz i have never done any wrong to anybody.
This article was very helpful. My dad is now in minimally conscious state after a massive stroke 2 months ago. It definitely is draining for family members, and I think the recommendation to seek support is really important (and often overlooked).
My sister suffered hypoxic brain damage from lack of oxygen and its been 40 days today. The neurologist says she's in a vegetative state and she also said something about alpha spindle coma. I am so very sad and just cannot believe this nightmare, but I do believe in miracles from God. I hope everyone who's going through similar situations have good outcomes and some miracles along the way.
Great article! My 44 year old husband was in a motorcycle accident on April 9th, was in a coma for 8 days, and has been in a vegetative state for about two months now. I see signs that he is aware though, like when I get upset, he shows signs of being upset. He inconsistent follows commands such as hand squeezing when I ask him to or if I ask him to open his eyes, but he doesn't reach for objects, hold objects, or say anything. He does move his mouth often like he is trying to speak though. He had several other life threatening injuries that had to be addressed prior to beginning physical therapy, so we are now, after two months, getting to the stage of physical therapy for his broken bones. I am hoping that once he is stimulated with physical movement, that may help stimulate his brain in some way. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience, and can give me some hope that he may recover his cognitive abilities. I have been trusting God for a miracle, and it always helps to hear others stories about how their loved one recovered.
My eldest brother suffered from a masssive stroke 4 months ago, he remained in vegatative state up to now. It's hard to see and accept that he is no longer the person I used to see when I visit him before the stroke. He's not aware of his sorroundings, no verbal response and unable to move his right arm and leg. I don't know if he will ever recover from that state but we are praying for his recovery and believe in God's miracle, no impossible with Him....
My dad was in a severe car accident and then had a massive stroke. He opens his eyes, but there is not response. It has been 11 days and I pray that he will regain conscious. My prayers go out to all families affected.
This brought some devastating reality to my world. My boyfriend is currently in what I believe to be the vegetative state. I was hoping that he would be back to his old great self again. I now know that this is not reality. And can prepare my heart for whats to come.
This has been very useful. My mom is in vegetative state. She was conscious after the stroke, but after an infection she went into coma and is now in vegetative state. We are praying for the best.
very practical & self-explanatory article. Though I could relate to each sentence as my loved one is in minimally conscious state. My prayers & empathy to similar persons suffering along with their caretakers.
Very informative, useful article. Thank you for posting it!
We care for our youngest son here at home, following a severe injury in 2006. While life has changed for us all, it is good, and we cherish the opportunity to minister to him as a family. Thank you for a well written and informative article. We will use it to help other families coming to terms with their loved one's injury.
very informative. thank you.
This article is an enormous help to me. It is written in a way that a lay person can understand and particularly helped me to see what we are currently doing for my 53 year old husband is the right thing.
My mom is in the same state right now.. God will take care of our loved ones.. There is power in prayer..
`thank u so much for give me this useful information
Thank You for your time and this article is very helpful to our friends and family.
my husband is in vegetative stage,just waiting for him to pass on to the next stage.this article answered a lot of questions,thus preparing us for the future course of actions to be taken.thank you.
unfortunatly my sister had brain strok few days ago . she is in hospital unconcience . im so worried about her . this article helped me to understand and praying for her to gain concience . it is one of the saddiest days of my life