01/24/2009: "AP Stylebook Update Announced"
The following is an update for your AP Stylebook.
Editor's Note: An entry on vegetative state has been added to say that the term refers to a condition in which the eyes are open and can move, and the patient has periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness, but remains unconscious.
A condition in which the eyes are open and can move, and the patient has periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness, but remains unconscious. The patient is unaware of himself and others. He can't be aroused. He can't think, reason, respond, do anything on purpose, chew or swallow. He may react when startled by a sound or a sight, but this is reflex. He may seem to focus his eyes on something briefly. He does not communicate and shows no emotion. He breathes on his own.
Terri Schiavo was a Florida woman in a vegetative state whose care triggered national controversy before her death in 2005.
A vegetative state is labeled "persistent" if it lasts more than a month. If it came about because the brain had been deprived of oxygen, it is generally considered permanent once it lasts longer than three months. If it was brought on by traumatic injury, it is considered permanent if it persists longer than 12 months.