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Assessment after extremely severe head injury in a case of life or death: Further support for McMillan.
Shiel, A. & WILSON, B.
Brain Injury, 12, 809-816.
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This paper is a sequel to that of McMillan (1997) and describes further assessment of an extremely severely head injured patient. A combination of direct observations, structured interviews with staff, simple cognitive tests and questions with yes/no answers were used to assess communication and cognitive function in an extremely severely head injured patient with minimal ability to respond. Results confirmed the finding of McMillan and showed that the patient could understand and respond consistently to simple commands, could answer simple autobiographical questions consistently and clearly expressed her wish to live. The results of this study and that of McMillan confirm that valid assessment of minimally responsive patients is possible and that a number of different approaches are appropriate.