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bullet Woman Wakes After 20 Year Coma, Impacts Terri Schaivo Legal Battle
bulletDad overjoyed as daughter speaks after 20 years mute
bulletWoman wakes from coma
bulletNeurosurgeon surprised by Sara



bulletWoman Wakes After 20 Year Coma, Impacts Terri Schaivo Legal Battle
                          by Steven Ertelt
                          LifeNews.com Editor
                          February 14, 2005
                                      Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) -- Sarah Scantlin was unable
                                      to speak after an automobile accident in which a drunk driver
                                      crashed into her, leaving her in a coma. Though doctors
                                      believed her brain was injured so badly in the accident that
                                      should would never be able to talk again and spend her life in a
                          vegetative state, Scantlin began speaking a week ago.
                          Sarah's friends and family gathered Saturday at the health care center where
                          she lives to celebrate.
                          "She's 100 percent Sarah again. The family is back together, and it's just simply
                          a joyous situation," her father, Jim Scantlin, told CNN.
                          Scantlin was 18 when she was injured and, until last month, she was aware of
                          her surroundings but unable to speak. Suddenly, she began talking to workers
                          at the health care center.
                          "It just happened one day and nobody really knows why," said Sharon
                          Kuepker, administrator for the Golden Plains Health Care Center.
                          Now, Scantlin is forming words, counting, and remembering people and places.
                          "You condition yourself to be able to try to deal with something like this, and
                          then all of the sudden, the world instantly changed from despair to joy because
                          it's amazing how important communication is between human beings," her
                          father told the Associated Press.
                          Doctors have no explanation but pro-life advocates believe the case proves
                          that Terri Schiavo, who is not in a PVS state, could find her disabled condition
                          improved if she were given proper medical care and rehabilitative treatment.
                          Robert Schindler, Terri's father, says he hopes the courts will see this "miracle"
                          and think of Terri.
                          "In light of the miraculous awakening of Miss Sarah Scantlin in Kansas and the
                          success of the new brainwave test reported ... this week, my daughter
                          deserves to have this test before she is starved to death by judicial decree,"
                          Schindler said.
                          Schindler is referring to a study released last week showing the level of neural
                          activity of disabled patients who listened to tapes of their loved ones sharing
                          family experiences matched that of the healthy patients.
                          The Schindlers say videotape shown on CNN of Sarah interacting with her
                          parents prior to speaking is remarkably similar to videos of Terri interacting her
                          Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family says the Scantlin case shows why
                          Florida courts should spare Terri Schiavo's life and prevent her estranged
                          husband from ending her life.
                          "Terri Schiavo deserves the same chance at life that Sarah Scantlin was given,"
                          Dobson said. "Both cases have involved women who suffered debilitating
                          injuries and continued to live in a disabled state. Today we celebrate the news
                          that Ms. Scantlin has regained her memory and ability to speak, and is
                          apparently on the road to recovery."
                          "Mental disabilities do not damage a person's worth -- the preciousness of life
                          is not defined by one's abilities," Dobson added. "Those who suffer a disabling
                          injury are entitled to the same right to life as we all are. Those seeking to take
                          away Mrs. Schiavo's right to life should have second thoughts after hearing
                          Sarah Scantlin's story."
                          Terri's parents are traveling to Kansas to meet with Sarah and her family.                             Related web sites:
                          Terri Schiavo's parents - http://www.terrisfight.org




Dad overjoyed as daughter speaks after 20 years mute vegetative state

HUTCHINSON, Kansas -- For 20 years, Sarah Scantlin has been mostly oblivious to the world around her - the victim of a drunken driver who struck her down as she walked to her car. Today, after a remarkable recovery, she can talk again. Scantlin's father knows she will never fully recover, but her newfound ability to speak and her returning memories have given him his daughter back. For years, she could only blink her eyes - one blink for "no," two blinks for "yes" - to respond to questions that no one knew for sure she understood.

"I am astonished how primal communication is. It is a key element of humanity," Jim Scantlin said, blinking back tears.

Sarah Scantlin was an 18-year-old college freshman on Sept. 22, 1984, when she was hit by a drunk driver as she walked to her car after celebrating with friends at a teen club.

Scantlin still suffers constantly from the effects of the accident. She habitually crosses her arms across her chest, her fists clenched under her chin. Her legs constantly spasm and thrash. Her right foot is so twisted it is almost reversed. Her neck muscles are so constricted she cannot swallow to eat.

A week ago, her parents got a call from Jennifer Trammell, a licensed nurse at the Golden Plains Health Care Center. She asked Betsy Scantlin if she was sitting down, told her someone wanted to talk to her and switched the phone over to speaker mode:

"Hi, Mom."

"Sarah, is that you?" her mother asked.

"Yes," came the throaty reply.

"How are you doing?"


"Do you need anything," her mother asked her later.

"More makeup."

Scantlin started talking in mid-January but asked staff members not to tell her parents until Valentine's Day to surprise them, Trammell said. But last week she could not wait any longer to talk to them.

The breakthrough came when the nursing home's activity director, Pat Rincon, was working with Scantlin and a small group of other patients, trying to get them to speak.

Rincon had her back to Scantlin while she worked with another resident. She had just got that resident to reply "OK," when she suddenly heard Sarah behind her also repeat the words: "OK. OK."

Scantlin's doctor, Bradley Scheel, said physicians are not sure why she suddenly began talking but believe critical pathways in the brain may have regenerated.

"It is extremely unusual to see something like this happen," Scheel said.

Jim Scantlin understands that Sarah will probably never leave the health-care centre, but he is grateful for her improvement.

"This place is her home ... They have given me my daughter back," he said.

Source: http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/EdmontonSun/News/2005/02/13/929704-sun.html


 CHN EDITOR'S NOTE:  Comment below by Nancy Valko, RN.

Comment: When stories like this have been mentioned during cases like Terri's, Nancy Cruzan's, etc., the so-called legal and medical "experts" always deny that the potential "right to die" victims are anything like the people who have just recovered or improved. Which is nonsense of course but it seems that most of the media just wants Terri's case over with and her death will certainly do that. And it's just too risky for the "right to die" groups to let Terri live and perhaps improve.
Nancy V.



Woman wakes from coma

Joe Sheeran
Eyewitness News
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Sara Scantlin hasn't said a word since the night a drunk driver ran into her. The accident in 1984 left her bound to a wheelchair, in a vegetative state. Doctors told her parents she was lucky to even survive. Jim and Betsy Scantlin learned to cope with the fact their daughter would be silent forever.

"You don't want to give up hope, but it's a hopeless situation," says Jim.

The Scantlin's held out hope. Friday Night the phone rang. Jim didn't believe his wife's conversation. "I'll be darned. She's not talking about Sara. She's talking too her," says Jim. "I got on the phone and she said hi dad. I didn't ever think I would hear that again."

The story of Sara's injury starts a year before the accident with the drunk driver who hit her. Doug brown had a brain injury himself from a summer roofing job, leaving him in a severe state of depression. Jim says Brown's family coaxed him to go out that night as a way to cheer up. "Physically blind in one eye and dead drunk in the other eye, he came by and hit Sara and didn't even know he did it."

With that all in the past, the Scantlins look forward to making up two lost decades. To read the Fact Finder 12 related story that discusses the medical side to Sara's story, click here.



SARA'S FATHER SPEAKS http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2373436n&channel=/elements/2007/01/18/in_depth_health/videoarchive2370731_1_videosection_page.shtml

bulletNeurosurgeon surprised by Sara

Delaina Renfro
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

A local neurosurgeon says a number of factors could have contributed to Sara Scantlin’s change. The left frontal lobe of the brain is where Sara's mother, Betsy, says her daughter's brain was severely damaged. In 1984, doctors removed a blood clot the size of a fist from Sara's brain.

Neurosurgeon, Dr. John Gorecki, says the brain does not do a good job of repairing itself that's why he says what happened with Sara is surprising.

A doctor once described to James Scantlin, Sara’s father, what happened to his daughter’s brain by saying it’s like taking a computer and dropping it off a ten story building and expecting it to work. But Dr. Gorecki says while most people agree computers are complex, they are primitive compared to the human brain.

“Computers are designed so that you can't fix them so you have to replace them when they break. The brain doesn't heal very well.”

That's the most puzzling part of Sara's story because after two decades Sara's brain put enough pieces together to communicate again. Dr. Gorecki says injuries on the left side of the brain can be the most dangerous. Just beyond the left frontal lobe is the language section. Dr. Gorecki says the language section could have been damaged in Sara's brain, and it's probably the most important section. When that part is damaged, it's very difficult for a patient to communicate, recover and recuperate.

The Scantlin family is having a celebration for Sara on Saturday. We'll be there to follow her story. You can read more in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Hutchinson News.


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