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Case Study
Sexuality and a Severely Brain-Injured Spouse

Mrs. Z is a twenty-nine-year-old woman who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury five years ago when she was hit by a car whose driver was drunk. She spent six months recovering, first in the hospital and then in a rehabilitation facility. Since her discharge from the rehabilitation facility, she has been living at home with her husband and her four-year-old twin sons. Mrs. Z is unable to speak, dependent in all mobility and personal care, incontinent, and has a feeding tube. Although alert and able to respond to visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, Mrs. Z is clearly unable to participate in even basic decisions. She requires twenty-four-hour care.

A few months ago, Mrs. Z suffered abdominal discomfort, and her doctor discovered that she was pregnant.

Mrs. Z is a twenty-nine-year-old woman who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury five years ago when she was hit by a car whose driver was drunk. She spent six months recovering, first in the hospital and then in a rehabilitation facility. Since her discharge from the rehabilitation facility, she has been living at home with her husband and her four-year-old twin sons. Mrs. Z is unable to speak, dependent in all mobility and personal care, incontinent, and has a feeding tube. Although alert and able to respond to visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, Mrs. Z is clearly unable to participate in even basic decisions. She requires twenty-four-hour care.

A few months ago, Mrs. Z suffered abdominal discomfort, and her doctor discovered that she was pregnant.

Kristi L. Kirchner, Rebecca Brashler, Rebecca Dresser, and Carole Levine, "Sexuality and a Severely Brain-Injured Spouse,"Hastings Center Report 40, no 3 (2010): 14-16.
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