An Indiana man chose to withdraw his own life support following a hunting accident that left him paralyzed and unable to breathe on his own. 32 year old Tim Bowers had been out deer hunting when he fell 16 feet from his tree stand crushing his C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae. As a result of the injury, Bowers was paralyzed from the shoulders down and required a ventilator to breathe. Doctors had determined that Bowers would likely not be able to breathe on his own ever again.
While still sedated, the family asked doctors if Bowers could be brought out of sedation to determine what he wanted to do. The family wanted Bowers to make his own decision regarding his life. The doctors complied and brought Bowers out of sedation. The family then explained the prognosis and asked Bowers whether he would want to continue the life support. With the ventilator tube still in place and unable to speak, Bowers shook his head emphatically no. The family then asked Bowers if he would want the tube reinserted if he struggled, and Bowers again shook his head no. Subsequently, the doctors came in and asked the same questions. Bowers gave the same responses. Doctors then removed the ventilator tube.
Bowers was able to spend the last several hours of his life surrounded by friends and family. During that time Bowers never wavered in his decision to die. The family felt comfortable knowing that he had made his own decision rather than attempting to make a decision for him.