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Neuroscientific deconstruction of the ideologised »hopelessness« of the vegetative state

Čartolovni, Anto



Recent neuroscientific research challenges today's prejudice of a vegetative state as a «hopeless» state. The results from these findings not only destroy the actual existing prejudices about people in a vegetative state, but they also provide a new insight into the epistemological problematics of the accurate diagnostic process of the actual state, followed up with ethical and social implications. They also provide a better understanding of the mere nature of consciousness and awareness, implying the moral and social responsibility towards these people, and at the same time leaving no place for «hopelessness». Therefore, the primary aim of this article is to demonstrate how, with the development of these new insights into the state of disorders of consciousness, side by side, from the mere beginning has been developing prejudice of «hopelessness», as a side-effect of insufficient and inadequate knowledge related to the nature of consciousness in the vegetative state. This conformity prejudice has had direct influence on clinical decision-making regarding artificial life-sustaining measures: from hydration and nutrition withdrawal, to do not resuscitate orders, and finally to ventilator withdrawal, retaining that the person has no hope for recovery after the determination of the vegetative state diagnosis. Furthermore, this prejudice of «hopelessness» has not only deeply paved the morally doubtful way for performing passive euthanasia, but was, even more, misused and politicised as one of the main arguments and examples of the pro-euthanasia movements in the fight for euthanasia legalisation.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 22, 2018
Journal Nova prisutnost
Print ISSN 1334-2312
Electronic ISSN 1334-2312
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume XVI
Issue 1
Pages 73-87
APA6 Citation Čartolovni, A. (2018). Neuroscientific deconstruction of the ideologised »hopelessness« of the vegetative state. Nova prisutnost časopis za intelektualna i duhovna pitanja, XVI(1), 73-87.
Keywords Philosophy; Religious studies
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