Man revived to be asked if he wants to live

Man revived to be asked if he wants to live
PHOTO: Man revived to be asked if he wants to live

He got to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die.

When Mr Tim Bowers, 32, an avid outdoorsman, was badly hurt on Saturday in a hunting accident, US doctors said he would be paralysed and could be on a ventilator for life.

His family had a unique request: Could he be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do?

Doctors said "yes", and Mr Bowers chose to take no extra measures to stay alive.

He died on Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed, AP reported.

"We just asked him, 'Do you want this?' And he shook his head emphatically no," his sister, Ms Jenny Shultz, said of her brother.

Mr Bowers was often found hunting, camping or helping his father on his north-eastern Indiana farm.

Fell From tree

He was deer hunting when he fell 5m from a tree and suffered a severe spinal injury.

It paralysed him from the shoulders down.

Doctors thought he might never breathe on his own again.

Doctors asked Mr Bowers, who got married in August, the same questions and got the same responses.

Then they removed the tube, AP reported.

The last five hours of Mr Bowers' life were spent with family and friends, about 75 of whom gathered in the hospital waiting room. They prayed and sang songs.

Through it all, Ms Shultz said, her brother never wavered in his decision to die.

She said: "I just remember him saying so many times that he loved us all and that he lived a great life. At one point, he was saying, 'I'm ready. I'm ready'."

Though his brain was not injured, his body was irreparably broken.

Surgery could fuse the vertebrae, but that would only allow Mr Bowers to sit up.

He would never walk or hold his baby.

He might live the rest of his life in a rehabilitation hospital, relying on a machine to help him breathe.

Ms Shultz said her brother - the youngest of four siblings - wanted to talk but couldn't because the ventilator tube was still in place.

If the tube were removed, she told him, doctors were not sure how long he would live. But when she asked if he wanted the tube reinserted if he struggled, Mr Bowers shook his head no.

Courts have long upheld the rights of patients to refuse life support.

But Mr Bowers' case was unusual because it's often family members or surrogates, not the patient, who make end-of-life decisions.

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