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Psalms 67:1-6
GOD Be Merciful to us, and Bless us; and Cause His Face to Shine upon us; Selah.
That Your Way may be known upon the Earth,
Your Saving Health among all nations.

"THE WORD OF THE DAY"


.."Parallels With Very Different Outcomes" .

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3/31/05  "Terri Schiavo Dead of Starvation, Dehydration"
Florida - Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 following a heart attack. The brain damage left her unable to care for herself, so for the last 13 years she's had a feeding tube for nutrients and fluids. Early on, rehabilitative attempts were made but were reportedly, discontinued as her husband  requested through the courts, also requesting that she be removed from nutrients to die. The disabled woman has passed away from complications from starvation and dehydration 13 days after Fla. Judge George Grier ordered the removal of her feeding tube.

5/03/05 "Irreversibly" Brain Damaged Firefighter Amazingly Regains Cognizance - Speech"
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -  After nearly a decade of diagnosed "irreversible" brain damage after a 1995 fire fighting accident which caused blindness; & mostly mute with memory loss, unable to communicate with little awareness, yet continuing therapy, firefighter Donald Herbert suddenly shocked doctors when he miraculously asked for his wife. An uncle, Simon Manka said, "Don asked, "How long have I been away?"... We told him almost 10 yrs., .. He thought it was only 3 months." ..."The word of the day was amazing," he continued.

Dr. Rose Lynn Sherr of New York University Medical Center - "When patients recover from brain injuries, they usually do so within two or three years. It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't understand why."

"Parallels With Very Different Outcomes"
Gerry M. Kaye

May 3, 2005

The similarities of circumstances for Terry Schiavo and Donald Herbert, with both being severely brain damaged but with very different outcomes, exemplify success or failure, life or death for a patient and pose a serious question: should one consider, before making a living will, the possibility of  "hopeless" prognosis being inaccurately erroneous, given the documentation of similar cases that have shown a viable recovery, as in the case of Don Herbert, and in other reports of "miraculous" recoveries? Some documented reports site instances of functions restored in time, through natural reparation of brain stem cells; and new connections made that replaced those damaged; despite commonly thought medical opinion that the brain cannot repair itself.

Dr. Rose Lynn Sherr of New York University Medical Center said that when patients recover from brain injuries, they usually do so within two or three years. "It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't understand why."

The human body is normally equipped with its own amazing rehabilitative process; often showing unexpected results given time; and often with the help of continued, proper therapy.

Many "miraculous", documented healings have taken place that are attributed to the power of prayer by the lovingly prayerful and believing.

Donald Herbert, who will turn 44 Saturday, was fighting a house fire on Dec. 29, 1995, when the roof collapsed, burying him under debris. Without air for several minutes, Herbert was comatose for 2 1/2 months and has since undergone therapy.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, brain damaged and incapacitated since 1990 following a heart attack; her brain still functioning, apparently was still able to make eye contact and respond, though in limited ways to those in her hospital/hospice room. Reportedly her therapy was discontinued by request of her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo. Terri's loving parents, who fought to prevent her death through her feeding tube being removed by request of her husband, made a video tape of Terri that appears to show her responding to outside stimulus. There was no 'choice to die' legal documentation, but the courts' decision to terminate her life rested on a belated and questionable testimony of her husband, that death was her "choice" if ever judged to be in an irreversible state of incapacitation. On 3/31/05 Terri Schiavo died of complications of dehydration and starvation 13 days after Fla. Judge George Grier ordered the removal of her feeding tube.

The markedly different circumstances in the two are striking, with Don Herbert's loving family and guardianship never giving up hope; even with him brain damaged for 10 yrs., blind from his injury, mostly mute and with little, if any memory, apparently unable to communicate and with little awareness of his surroundings; yet they, with optimism, continued his rehabilitative therapy.

Thus, on May 3, 2005 after a decade of silence, Don did something that shocked his family and doctors when he suddenly spoke and asked for his wife. Staff members of the nursing home where Donald Herbert has lived for more than seven years rushed to call Linda Herbert. It was the first of many conversations he had with his wife, four sons and other family members and friends, during a 14 hour stretch. Herbert's sons were 14, 13, 11 and 3 when he was injured. As word of Herbert's progress spread, a steady stream of visitors arrived at the Father Baker Manor nursing home in the Buffalo suburb. "He stayed up 'til early morning talking with his boys and catching up on what they've been doing over the last several years," said fellow firefighter Anthony Liberatore.

We can assess that optimism invites positive results. Don Herbert is fortunate that his guardianship exemplifies the outcome of love, caring, faith, continued hope, patience and decency. Donald Herbert asked, "How long have I been away?" Herbert's uncle, Simon Manka said, "We told him almost 10 years, ...he thought it was only three months....the word of the day was "amazing!"
 
 

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For more on this subject: "Recovery from Brain Damage: Reflections and Directions" (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 325)
by F.D. Rose, D.A. Johnson (Editor)

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"THE WORD OF THE DAY",  "Parallels with Very Different Outcomes",  (c) copyright 2005 by Gerry M. Kaye. All rights reserved.