In conclusion, the factors typically considered by courts are certainly relevant to auxiliary aid decisions concerning brain scanning. They are overshadowed, however, by the following issues: (1) the likelihood of any communication with patients; (2) the lack of other potential methods of communication; and (3) the arguably incomplete scientific support for brain scanning.
Though an unknown number of vegetative state patients may be able to communicate through brain scanning, many, if not the majority, are likely unconscious and incapable of any form of communication.
(149) If courts were to adopt a less expansive interpretation of the auxiliary aid requirement in the context of brain scanning, they would have to second-guess these decisions.
Communication through brain scanning may not be "effective" compared to communication achievable with individuals suffering from other disabilities.
(151) As a result, it is unclear how courts will evaluate the strength of brain scanning's scientific underpinnings.
Even so, vegetative state patients may have to wait for more scientific evidence to confirm that brain scanning can detect conscious thought before any such requirement is imposed.
Through brain scanning, vegetative state patients may gain the opportunity to regularly answer questions critical to their treatment and make decisions that improve their quality of life.