Salvatore Crisafulli, a father of four, is describing his case as a "miracle" which proves that lost causes are anything but hopeless and his recovery appeared to strengthen the hand of Italians opposed to end-of-life solutions.Earlier this year, an Arkansas man Terry Wallis inexplicably came out of a 19-year coma. Terry who was left paralysed and in a coma in 1984, was 19 and newly married with a baby girl, when his truck went over a cliff.
His brother even called Crisafulli "an Italian Terri Schiavo case" with reference to the brain-damaged Florida woman who died in March after her feeding tube was removed.
Channel 4 Dr Martin Brookes gave an interesting review of that miraculous recovery and wrote about the difficulties involved in assessing the effects and outcomes of comatose patients. Dr Brookes’ conclusion?
Of course, Terry is not out of the woods yet. His awareness of himself and his surroundings are still distorted, and he seems to lack a short-term memory. Perhaps these faculties will never be regained. But if the Terry Wallis story teaches us anything, it is never say never.How do these stories compare with current views on abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia as they are reported in the news? Francis Schaeffer (together with then US Surgeon-General Dr C. Everett Koop) in his prophetic book Whatever Happened To The Human Race? tells us what’s at stake:
Cultures can be judged in many ways, but eventually every nation in every age must be judged by this test: how did it treat people? Each generation, each wave of humanity, evaluates its predecessor on this basis. The final measure of mankind's humanity is how humanely people treat one another.R. Albert Mohler Jr. surveys the last 25 years since the publication of WHTTHR? and agrees with the writer that when humanity loses the high view of human life as imago dei the doors are flung wide open for greater 'anti-human' abuses. He quotes Schaeffer: "Any person can be obliterated for what society at one moment thinks of as its own social or economic good." Humanity stands on the brink of the abyss, says Mohler, and quite possibly we are edging nearer everyday.
Back in 1988, I came across a remarkable letter to the editor in the Economist written by Alison Davis from Blandford Forum, Dorset. I couldn't resist jotting down (yes, I'm an inveterate jotter) her stinging mail in response to articles in the January 23 issue of that magazine