Ellen’s Story

Texas Right to Life works on a variety of issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning. Another area in which Texas Right to Life fights is for families to make end-of-life decisions rather than doctors or “ethics panels” at hospitals.

Sometimes Texas Right to Life faces opposition among the medical community because experts have decided that there are some people who are in a state of life not worth living. Families are pressured many times to let go of their loved ones because the doctors state that the patient has no reasonable hope of recovery.

I, personally, was taken aback by a story I found in the Fall 2010 Mission of Divine Mercy newsletter. In it, Emily Foster Jebbia tells the story of a woman she had known named *Ellen who had a car accident in 2000 that left her partially paralyzed. Because of the accident, Ellen was in a coma for four months, and doctors assumed she had no brain activity.

But, as Emily recalls:

“According to Ellen, during those months when she apparently had no brain activity, she was often intensely aware of what was happening around her. Later she could repeat some of the things that were said about her or about others within her hearing. She could also tell you which nurses and doctors had shown compassion, and which ones had treated her as an inanimate object.”

Emily also describes how Ellen remembers being fed by the feeding tube and that she also felt hunger when her feeding was neglected. When Ellen left the hospital, she weighed only eighty-five pounds. Despite the tragedy, Ellen felt God’s presence with her the whole time:

“According to Ellen, God was with her in a very close and personal way. He was speaking to her, and she could speak to Him. Because of this, it was also a time of intense joy for her. She recalls that she told God on several occasions that she wanted to open her eyes, but He told her that it wasn’t yet the right time.”

While the doctors saw Ellen struggle, they wanted to put her out of her misery.

Emily goes on:
“After about four months with no apparent change or improvement, the decision was made by her doctors to remove the feeding tube and bring about her death. From the doctors’ point of view she was already as good as dead, merely a human vegetable. But before the order could actually be carried out, God told Ellen that it was time to wake up. And she did, to the astonishment of the hospital staff.”

It took time for Ellen to get nourished back to health, but, today, Ellen is a healthy and happy woman who lives in West Virginia as an accomplished sculptor. Ellen encourages compassion for all those suffering in hospitals.

“I have learned that that God does not come and go. God is with each of us, at all times and through all times.” ~Ellen

*Name changed to respect privacy