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Tracing uncertainties of prognostics, at the intersection of scientific and clinical reasoning around patients with severe brain injury

2018.11.23 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Associate professor Mette Terp Høybye has been awarded a Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Fellowship of DKK 2,897,000 for the project “Borderlands of living. Tracing states of (un-)consciousness between the irreversible and the potential”

The project will be carried out at the IMC and Silkeborg Regional Hospital over the next 2 1/2 years, and will bring in new post.doc. colleagues to the IMC and the Department of Clinical Medicine, AU at the Center for Elective Surgery, Silkeborg Regional Hospital.


Summary of the project:

With advances in medical technology new prognostic tools become available to distinguish states of consciousness in unresponsive patients. Borne from a desire to enhance the treatment and rehabilitation of such patients, these advances, however, hold ethical implications for what constitutes personhood. 

Grounded in anthropological fieldwork of an experimental fMRI protocol, this project traces uncertainties of prognostics between scientific and clinical reasoning, as a study of knowledge relationality. This will inform conversations on being human and add insights into how uncertainties of potential and personhood are negotiated in search of unambiguous signs of consciousness.

The ambition is to carve out new trails in the conversations about the ethics of medical technologies and treatment in the borderlands of living, while critically examining the relationality of knowledge and methodological innovation.


Mette Terp Høybye, Associate Professor, Dept. of Clinical Medicine,  Silkeborg Regional Hospital and IMC