Doctors Succeed in Communicating with Vegetative Patient


Perhaps expanding the potential of understanding the discrepancy between a person’s behavior and their internal experience, doctors have managed to communicate with Scott Routley via MRI scans. Routley, who has not shown any physical signs of awareness in the 12 years since suffering a brain injury, communicated that he “has a conscious, thinking mind … he is clearly choosing to answer our questions.”

Article → Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor
I was simply reminded by this article of the ongoing need to reflect on the fact that we cannot judge a person’s internal experience by their outward behavior; we are obliged to constantly re-examine our assumptions about what and if a person is thinking or feeling what we presume them to be, no matter how certain we may feel we are privileged to be.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].