Can you even imagine that? Well, it's a true story and it happened to Richard Marsh, a man who suffered a massive stroke back in 2009. Doctors believed he was in a persistent vegetative state with no mental consciousness or physical feeling, but in reality he was suffering from what is know as Locked-in syndrome, which affects about 1 percent of people who have a stroke.

There is no treatment or cure for the condition--in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate due to complete paralysis of muscles in the body-- and it's practically unheard of for patients to ever recover any significant motor skills. So eventually, they asked Marsh's wife Lili whether they should pull the plug of his life support machine. 

 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Why unplugging at night is important if you want to avoid depression

"The doctors had just finished telling Lili that I had a 2% chance of survival and if I should survive I would be a vegetable," he recently told the British newspaper The Guardian. "I could hear the conversation and in my mind I was screaming 'No!'" 

Although he couldn't move, speak or breathe on his own, Marsh could hear and see everything that was happening. About 90 percent of patients with Locked-in syndrome die within the first four months, but luckily for Marsh, his wife refused to have him disconnected from the ventilator and little by little, he started showing signs of recovery. About four months after his stroke, he left the long-term facility and he's recovered 95 percent of his motor functions. 

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Reading about him has made me wonder whether I should change my mind in terms of what I think of life-support machines and when one should decide the time has come to pull the plug. I'm sure that's not an easy decision for any family member to make, but mostly, how are you supposed to know when the time has come? What if Marsh's wife had listened to the doctors? They would've basically killed him and he wouldn't have been able to do anything about it!

Had you heard of Locked-in sydrome? How do you feel about life-support machines? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below. 

Image via The Guardian

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a first-grader and a preschooler. She loves languages, traveling and good food – especially if it's cooked by someone else.

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Filed Under: death, strange illness, miracle
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