Archives For Tim Bowers

Bowers WifeA spirited debate arose in the US last week over the withdrawal of life support from a recently paralyzed hunter. Tim Bowers, a 32-year-old newlywed from Indiana, suffered massive spinal injuries earlier this month after he fell from a tree during a deer hunting expedition.

Bowers woke up in a hospital hours later, paralyzed from the neck down and reliant on a breathing tube. After being asked by his family, a despairing Bowers asked doctors to remove his breathing tube.

He died a few hours later.

Many bioethicists have argued Bowers was unfit to make the decision so soon after sustaining his injury. Arthur Caplan of NYU said, “initially after a terrible injury or a mutilating injury or a terrible burn, pain and disfigurement, everybody is like, ‘I can’t go on.’ Almost a hundred percent say, ‘I don’t want to live like this.” He suggested a cooling off period of a few weeks.

Bower’s sister said that Tim had once said he would never like to live his life in a wheelchair.

Outspoken disabilities activist Robert Anderson dismissed this “advanced directive”.

“They never gave this young man a chance, he was not in the right stage of mind to make that type of decision. I always said I’d never want to live my life in a wheelchair either. Than I dove into shallow water at age 21 and broke my neck rendering me a quadriplegic. Life sure isn’t easy but it’s definitely worth living.”

I first read about this when a Facebook friend sent it to me and asked my opinion. I told her exactly what was written by Xavior Symons via BioEdge without the quotes from Arthur Caplan and Robert Anderson. This was made in haste and too soon.

My condolence’s to the family, I only wish they had given him time and he had not made a hasty decision. I am sure he was in shock and anxious realizing his condition.

John Kelly comments on his life in this post from Not Dead Yet:

I am a 55-year-old white man who is a quadriplegic based on a spinal cord injury in 1984.  The level of my injury was at the fourth cervical level, resulting in near total paralysis below my shoulders.  My breathing ability survived the injury, and after diaphragmatic strengthening, I have breathed without assistance for the last 30 years.  I drive a powered wheelchair with a sip/puff tube, live in the community with assistants I hire and manage myself, and work part-time as a disability rights advocate.  I am a writer and community leader in the disability community.

Curious on your thoughts…


Written by Xavior Symons for BioEdge under Creative Commons license.