Paralyzed Deer Hunter Chooses to End Life Support

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Paralyzed Deer Hunter Chooses to End Life Support

Posted 2013-11-08T12:09:00Z  by  Stephanie Mallory

Paralyzed Deer Hunter Chooses to End Life Support

After falling from a treestand on Saturday and suffering catastrophic injuries, avid Indiana outdoorsman Tim Bowers chose to end life support and spend the last hours of his life surrounded by family and friends.

According to CNN, Bowers fell 16 feet out of his treestand when hunting deer last weekend. When doctors said he was paralyzed from the shoulders down and could be on a ventilator for his entire life, family members requested that Bowers be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do.

Upon hearing the news, the 32-year-old newlywed husband and father-to-be chose to take no extra measures to remain alive.

"We just asked him, 'Do you want this?' And he shook his head emphatically no," his sister, Jenny Shultz, said.

A CBS News story states that alhough his brain was not injured, Bowers' C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae were crushed, causing irreparable damage. Surgery could fuse the vertebrae, allowing Bowers to sit up, but he would never walk or hold his baby. He might live the rest of his life in a rehabilitation hospital, relying on a machine to help him breathe.

Shultz said her brother wanted to talk but couldn't because the ventilator tube was still in place. If the tube were removed, she told him, doctors were not sure how long he would live. But when she asked if he wanted the tube reinserted if he struggled, Bowers shook his head no.

Doctors removed the tube, giving Bowers the ability to speak. He lived for five more hours. Seventy-five of Bowers' friends and family members gathered by his side and in the hospital waiting room. They prayed and sang songs.

"I just remember him saying so many times that he loved us all and that he lived a great life," Shultz said. "At one point, he was saying, 'I'm ready. I'm ready.'"

Shultz said although she knows not everyone would make the same decision, she's thankful her brother was able to choose for himself.

"No outcome was ever going to be the one that we really want," she said, but I felt that he did it on his terms in the end."

This awful tragedy should serve as a reminder to us all to take safety precautions when hunting. No one thinks it can happen to them, but treestand falls injure and kill hunters every season. If you don't wear a harness for yourself, then do it for those who love you.

Check out these treestand safety tips from the U.S. Fish & Widlife Service for a reminder on the precautions you should take before heading out on your hunt.