A 32-year-old man paralyzed in an accident on Saturday chose to not continue life support when he heard his prognosis and he died on Sunday.
Newser reports that Tim Bowers made the decision after learning that he would never walk again and might be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. The Indiana man was left paralyzed from the shoulders down after falling 16 feet from a tree while deer hunting.
Bowers’ spine had been crushed and surgery reportedly would only ever allow him to sit up and that he wouldn’t be able to walk ever again.
When doctors informed Bowers’ family of the prognosis, the family asked if Bowers could be brought out of sedation to hear it and make the decision on what he wanted to do, according to ABC News.
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“We just asked him, ‘Do you want this?’ And he shook his head emphatically no,” said Bowers’ sister, Jenny Shultz.
Newser also notes that Bowers — who got married in August and whose wife is pregnant with a child he would never be able to hold — never wavered from his decision, family members say.
Shultz said her brother wanted to speak, 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. However, when she asked if he wanted the tube reinserted if he struggled, Bowers shook his head no. Doctors reportedly asked him the same questions and got the same answers and then removed the tube.
Medical ethicists say it is rare for someone to make such a decision so quickly after the prognosis, but it is important for patients to have the right to self-determination.
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The last five hours of Bowers’ life were spent with family and friends as about 75 of them came together in the hospital waiting room.
“No outcome was ever going to be the one that we really want,” Shultz said. “But I felt that he did it on his terms in the end.”