Via Wesley J. Smith (and our editor, Paul Cella, who sent me the link independently) here is a neat story from the UK about a woman brought back to independent breathing by her husband's telling-off. Dominic Sullivan yelled at his wife to "stop mucking about" and to "come back." Two hours later she was found to be breathing on her own, after two weeks apparently in a coma. Pro-life nurse Nancy Valko has pointed out what is discussed in this article--that the sense of hearing is the last to go and can be operative even in people who appear to be unconscious. Yvonne Sullivan says that even though she can't remember what her husband was saying as he bawled her out, she could indeed hear him and believes that this gave her the will to fight.
Something to remember if (God forbid) someone you love should ever be in the same situation.
The other story I hesitate to link to, because the wording in the LifeSite news story is very confusing. While WJS is pleased that they made it better than it was originally, I didn't get to compare the original version to this one, and this version of the story still gives the strong impression that the phrase "brain dead" is properly used for what is called a "persistent vegetative state" and that "brain death" is compatible with independent breathing and other brain stem activities, when in fact this is not the case. "Brain death"--a term that has important legal ramifications for the harvesting of organs--refers to the cessation of function of the brain stem as well as the upper parts of the brain. Specifically, people said to be PVS can often breathe on their own, whereas people who are brain dead cannot, and legal brain death should absolutely not be concluded when the patient is breathing independently.
Be that as it may, the story ends well. A woman was sent home to die. Her daughter put an ice cube in her mouth to moisten her mouth (let's hear it for small acts of mercy), and found that her mother was sucking on it. She leaned down and said, "Mom, are you in there?" and was shocked when her mother mouthed "yes." Says the patient, Mrs. Kuperschmidt, "I know God's not done with me yet."