I am an active duty officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. All views expressed in this blog are my personal views as an individual and not those of the Marine Corps or the Department of Defense.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Johnny's fate

When I first read Johnny Got His Gun, what captured my imagination most wasn't Dalton Trumbo's anti-war message but the idea of being a prisoner in one's own body, as is his main character, Joe Bonham. This seems to me to be one of the worst fates imaginable.

So I was shocked to learn today that an estimated 40% of people diagnosed to be in a persistent vegetative state, or PVS, are misdiagnosed. An article in the Sunday Times documents the jaw-dropping progress made by British and other scientists in understanding the various types of brain injury and in bringing some people out of what appeared to be PVS. It is beyond scary to think of how many people are currently "warehoused" who, with the right treatment, would be capable of returning to the land of the living.