Is there a time when "pulling the plug" is acceptable?Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Chances are good we've all thought about this. If we suffer a life-threatening injury, is there a time when "pulling the plug" is acceptable?
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Chances are good we've all thought about this.
If we suffer a life-threatening injury, is there a time when "pulling the plug" is acceptable?
It's played-out in real life for one Midwestern family this week, after a loved one fell from a tree while deer hunting.
The 32-year-old man suffered paralyzing injuries and was put on a ventilator.
That is, until his family brought him out of sedation to make a life or death decision.
Tim Bowers was an outdoors guy.
When he was hospitalized---paralyzed after a 16-foot fall from a tree while hunting, his family had a decision to make. Because doctors told them Tim would be on a ventilator the rest of his life, and paralyzed, the family requested that Tim be brought out of sedation so they could ask a question.
Do you want to live like this? His answer--no.
And so, the ventilator was shut off, and for the final few hours of his life, Tim Bowers listened as family prayed and sang.
He lived 5 hours.
John Trautman/Fargo: “And I understand. I spent a month on the ventilator.”
John Trautman can relate.
It is an interesting dilemma.
The 37 year old Fargo man was critically injured 12 years ago while serving in the military. His accident left him paralyzed, on a ventilator for a month.
Trautman: “The decision was premade on my part, which was to stay alive, even though i said if i could not wipe my backside what was the purpose in living.”
John's spinal cord injury left him with no use of his legs or one arm. Limited use of his right hand. And so he understands why Tim Bowers made the decision he did. Life on a vent is hard.
Trautman: “Living life just to be alive, are you accomplishing anything. Quality of life.”
And while Facebook and Twitter are blowing up with comments, some critical, from people about the hunter's decision, John says, not so fast.
Trautman: “It is tough for someone to be critical without understanding the medical side of things.”
What makes this story so unique is family is often called on to make the heart wrenching decision to withdraw care, or pull the plug. Tim Bowers was awakened and allowed to decide for himself whether he lived or died.
John has not allowed his disability to get in the way of living. He has gone scuba diving, skiing, and most recently sky diving.