What Is Considered Permanently Unconscious in Connecticut

A living will is a document that controls which medical procedures can be administered to an individual in the case of their permanent unconsciousness. For more information on what a living will is, read this.

If a living will becomes effective at the moment of permanent unconsciousness, How do medical professionals decide when somebody is permanently unconscious?

Connecticut General Statute Sec. 19a-570 defines language for the purpose of living wills and healthcare directives in the State of Connecticut. Medical professionals rely on and look to this section for their guidelines.

CGS Sec. 19a-570 states that permanently unconscious “means an irreversible condition in which the individual is at no time aware of himself or herself or the environment and shows no behavioral response to the environment and includes permanent coma and persistent vegistative state.”

What can we glean from this definition?

First, we see that Connecticut defines permanent as irreversible.

Second, we see that the individual must be conscious “at no time”. So if the individual comes in and out of consciousness, they are not permanently unconscious even when they are “out”.

Third, we can see that the State has provided two diagnoses that if diagnosed create permanent unconsciousness as a matter of law. These are permanent coma and permanent vegetative state.