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Posts tagged ‘Persistent vegetative state’

South African Presidency Denies Mandela in ‘Vegetative’ State.

JOHANNESBURG — The office of South African President Jacob Zuma denied media reports that former leader Nelson Mandela is in a “vegetative” state in the hospital.

“Former President Mandela has been and remains under the care of a multi-disciplinary panel of South African medical experts,” the Presidency said in a statement Thursday. He is in a “critical, but stable condition” and doctors “deny that the former president is in a vegetative state.”

The 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has been hospitalized since June 8 to receive treatment for a lung infection. Agence France-Presse and Sky News reported Thursday that doctors had advised family members that Mandela’s life support machine should be turned off as he is in a permanent vegetative state.

The reports cited court documents dated June 26 that were submitted in relation to a family dispute over the burial site of three of Mandela’s children.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for opposing white minority rule, has been hospitalized four times since December.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy and became the country’s first black president a year later when the African National Congress won the first all-race elections. He stepped down after serving a five-year term.

The former leader is “sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes he is in pain, but he is fine,” his wife Graca Machel said Thursday, according to Johannesburg-based EWN.

Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, lost a court battle on July 3 to keep the remains of Mandela’s three children in Mvezo village in Eastern Cape province, where he is tribal chief.

Family members, including Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe, had asked the court to have the bodies returned to Qunu, where they were buried until Mandla removed them two years ago, according to Johannesburg-based City Press newspaper.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Mandela: Doctors Said ‘Turn Off Life Support’.


  • Mandela: Doctors Said 'Turn Off Life Support'View PhotoMandela: Doctors Said ‘Turn Off Life Support’

Doctors advised that Nelson Mandela’s life support should be turned off because he was in a ‘permanent vegetative state‘, court documents show.

The declaration from members of the former president’s family came as part of a family dispute over the graves of three of his children.

In documents dated June 26 they said: “He is in a permanent vegetative state and is assisted in breathing by a life support machine.

“The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.

“Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability.”

The “certificate of urgency” document was obtained from a lawyer representing Mandela family members who had successfully sought a court order to return the children’s remains to the revered South African leader’s childhood home.

The legal battle was launched after Mr Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela had them moved from the family estate in Qunu to his own village 15 miles away.

The document was presented to South Africa’s Eastern Cape High Court as President Jacob Zuma reported that Mr Mandela’s health had faltered and cancelled a trip to Mozambique.

Since it was written, the South African government, family members and hospital visitors have reported that Mr Mandela’s condition has improved.

The following day Mr Zuma reported that Mr Mandela’s health had “improved during the course of the night”.

“He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job,” Mr Zuma said in a statement on June 27.

Since then the government has said Mr Mandela’s condition remains “critical but stable”, but has provided few details, citing patient confidentiality.

Lawyers for Mr Mandela’s relatives, family members themselves and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier, Mr Mandela’s wife said the former president is sometimes uncomfortable but seldom in pain while being treated in a hospital.

Graca Machel spoke about her husband’s condition at a fundraising drive for a children’s hospital that will be named after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.

“Whatever is the outcome of his stay in hospital … he offered his nation an opportunity to be united under the banner of our flag, under the banner of our constitution,” she said.


Sky NewsSky News

Doctors: Mandela in ‘Permanent Vegetative State’.

PRETORIA, South Africa —Doctors treating Nelson Mandela said that he was in a “permanent vegetative state” and advised his family to turn off his life support machine, according to court documents dated June 26, obtained by AFP Thursday.

“He is in a permanent vegetative state and is assisted in breathing by a life support machine,” said a legal filing related to a family dispute over reburying the remains of Mandela’s three children.

“The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.”

During a nearly one month battle for his life in hospital,  Mandela has occasionally been uncomfortable but has not been in pain, his wife Graca Machel said Thursday.

“Now it is about 25 days we have been in hospital,” Machel said, giving thanks for the outpouring of well wishes from around the world for the Nobel peace laureate.

“Madiba sometimes has been uncomfortable, but he has never been in pain,” she said using Mandela’s clan name.

The former president, who turns 95 later this month, was rushed to hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

He has since been on life support, but during the last week his condition is said to have stabilized.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Machel, launching the latest in a series of events to mark Mandela’s life.

“The outpouring and humbling demonstrations of love, of care, of support, of hope are taken into our hearts every single day.”

“We thank you very deeply.”

Amid an increasingly bitter family feud — involving allegations of adultery, grave tampering and siblings born out of wedlock — Machel said Mandela’s example could serve as a beacon for unity for the country.

“While he lies in hospital, he offered an opportunity for all of us again to be united,” Machel said.

On Thursday, the exhumed remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children at the center of the ugly family feud were due to undergo forensic tests before reburial Mandela’s childhood village.

In dramatic scenes that unfolded in front of the world’s media on Wednesday, a sheriff forced open the gates to the estate of Mandela’s grandson Mandla with a pickaxe to allow three hearses to enter the property, where the disputed remains were moved in 2011, allegedly without the family’s consent.

Mandela has expressed his wish to be buried at his rural homestead at Qunu, and his daughters wanted the children’s remains to be returned so they can be buried together.More than a dozen relatives of the revered leader, including Mandela’s wife, took Mandla to court over the dispute. The disputed remains are of Mandela’s eldest son Thembekile, who died in 1969, his nine-month-old infant Makaziwe, who died in 1948, and Mandla’s own father Makgatho, who died in 2005.

© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Vegetative Ariel Sharon Shows ‘Significant’ Brain Activity.

Israel‘s former prime minister Ariel Sharon has been in what doctors have assumed is a vegetative state since 2006. But in a sign that not all of his critical brain processing has been lost, Sharon showed “significant” neural activity in tests using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a team of scientists said.

During the two-hour test, Sharon was exposed to familiar stimuli, including pictures of his family and his son’s voice, and told to imagine himself performing different tasks, such as hitting a tennis ball and walking through the rooms of his home.

The scientists said they found promising signs that external information is being transferred to the right parts of Sharon’s brain, though it’s not clear that the 84-year-old former leader is aware of it.

“We found faint brain activity indicating that he was complying with the tasks,” Martin Monti, a UCLA brain scientist on the team, said in a statement. “He may be minimally conscious, but the results were weak and should be interpreted with caution.”

Paul Matthews, who heads the division of brain sciences at London’s Imperial College and was not involved in the tests on Sharon, said he thinks the results are encouraging from a clinical standpoint, but added it is hard to predict what they will mean for his future.

“Patients in a vegetative state may have brain function reserved in parts of the brain, yet will always remain in a vegetative state,” Matthews told LiveScience in a phone interview. “It is clear that regions of the brain associated with normal perception can respond to stimuli that we are not aware of at a conscious level.” [10 Greatest Mysteries of the Mind]

There’s no single part of the brain that is alone responsible for consciousness, Matthews added, and scientists don’t have a universal guide to tell them which spikes in brain activity (or blood flow, which is measured by fMRIs) in vegetative patients can be interpreted as signs meaningful, conscious activity in the mind. Matthews said that’s largely because tests using fMRI are generally not practical and only conducted in special cases.

While Sharon might represent one such special case, Tzvi Ganel, of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who initiated the project, stressed that the former prime minister’s family hoped the tests would further research efforts and eventually help other families in a similar situation, according to a statement from UCLA.

Matthews noted that more tests on similar patients will be crucial for scientists. Analyzing the brains of enough people early enough in their injury could help researchers determine which flickers of activity might hint at recovery. And more tests on a wider spectrum of patients will help doctors flesh out the range of clinical outcomes for people with brain injuries that render them vegetative.


By Megan Gannon, News Editor |

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