Man Chooses to Die Day After Accident

Tim Bowers was paralyzed from shoulders down while deer hunting

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 6, 2013 12:54 AM CST | Updated Nov 10, 2013 8:11 AM CST

(Newser) – An Indiana man who loved the outdoors chose not to continue life support after learning that he would never walk again and might be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. Tim Bowers, 32, was left paralyzed from the shoulders down after falling 16 feet from a tree while deer hunting last Saturday, the AP reports. His family took the unusual step of having him brought out of sedation so he could be told the prognosis and asked what he wanted to do. He decided against being kept alive and died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed. Medical ethicists say it is rare for someone to make such a decision so soon after the prognosis, but it is important for patients to have the right to self-determination.

Bowers—who got married in August and whose wife is pregnant with a child he would never be able to hold—never wavered from his decision, family members say. His spine had been crushed and surgery would only ever allow him to sit up, not walk. Dozens of friends and family members gathered to pray and sing in the hospital during his final hours. "I just remember him saying so many times that he loved us all and that he lived a great life," one of his three sisters says. "At one point, he was saying, 'I'm ready. I'm ready."

Tim Bowers, 32, told his family he wanted to be taken off life support rather than be dependent on others for the rest of his life.
Tim Bowers, 32, told his family he wanted to be taken off life support rather than be dependent on others for the rest of his life.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Jenny Schultz)
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No outcome was ever going to be the one that we really want. But I felt that he did it on his terms in the end. - Jenny Shultz, Bowers' sister

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