“Mercy Killing” is an act of direct euthanasia usually committed for the alleged purpose of ending the suffering of an “unproductive” or terminally ill person. Many times, comatose people are deemd “unproductive” and judged “irreversibly comatose.” However, medical researchers have performed a number of extensive studies to determine how many people in so-called irreversible comas actually recover.

• One study of 84 people whom physicians considered to be in a “persistent vegetative state” showed that 41% had regained consciousness within six months and 58% had regained consciousness within three years. A second study of 26 children in comas lasting more than 12 weeks found that three-fourths eventually regained consciousness. Another study found that one-third of the 370 patients in a “persistent vegetative state” for up to one year recovered enough to return to work.

“Managing the Persistent Vegetative State: Early, Skilled Treatment Offers the Best Hope for Optimal Recovery,” British Medical Journal, August 1992, Pages 304-305.

“Results of Head Injury Study Released,” Minnesota Physician, January 1989, Page 5.

“Neurologist Has Cautionary Tales for Euthanasia Fans,” Vancouver Sun [Canada]. Sept. 8 1993, Page B3.