04-11-12, 09:59 PM #1
According to wiki the term vegetative state was coined in 1972 due to our (then) new found ability to maintain a person 'alive' while in a coma. The common vernacular is refer to a person as a vegetable. However, the british refer to it as coma vigil (I think)?
My question is, does the vegetative refer to vigil? How is vegetative, vegetable and vigil related etymologically?
04-12-12, 11:37 AM #2
After one year he is said to be in a permanent vegetative state, an admission that we don't expect to ever be able to wake him up. Since U.S. law does not define any form of vegetative state as death, caretakers are legally obliged to keep him alive.
It was recently discovered that some patients in a vegetative state are conscious. They can hear and think, but are unable to respond or move in any way. Technicians have trained them to form thoughts in two different brain centers, producing brain waves that their instruments can tell apart, in effect giving them the ability to answer yes-no questions. Imagine what it would be like to be trapped that way!
For this and many other reasons (such as sheer cost), there is a growing sentiment to amend the laws so vegetative patients can be allowed to die. This is one contingent of the "death with dignity" movement.The common vernacular is refer to a person as a vegetable.However, the British refer to it as coma vigil (I think)?My question is, does the vegetative refer to vigil?How is vegetative, vegetable and vigil related etymologically?
Today we have narrowed the meaning to cover only certain kinds of plants with nutritious tissue, usually the leaves and stalks, distinguishing it from "fruit," "grain," "tuber," "root," etc.
Vigil is a Latin word meaning watchful, or simply awake. Vigil and vigor are both descended from a Proto-Indo-European word wog- or weg-, meaning "to be lively, active, strong." The word velox, "fast," (from which we get "velocity") may also come from this PIE root.
But the use of the English words "vigil" and "vegetative" in regard to coma patients is a coincidence. The words have nearly opposite meanings in our language.
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