Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Ethical minefield

Doctors have made a medical breakthrough which would have tasked even the imagination of Hollywood science fiction movie makers.

They have not only discovered that patients with serious brain injuries — and who were thought to be in a vegetative state — have brain activity, but that by tapping into the patients’ thoughts doctors can communicate with them.

This is an astonishing discovery and means that society will have to rethink how it cares for and treats such patients. A decision to turn off life support equipment will now be fraught with new ethical and legal questions, never mind the personal dilemmas of patients’ relatives.

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