A vegetative state is defined as the absence of responsiveness or consciousness in which a patient shows no awareness of his or her environment. Patients may exhibit eye movements and other involuntary movements. A minimally conscious state is one in which a patient has some awareness of self and/or the environment. Referring to a person in a vegetative state as a vegetable is considered offensive. It is preferable to use precise medical terminology or, if that is not possible, terms such as comatose or non-responsive. If using the term vegetative state, use people-first language, such as a person in a vegetative state. Avoid referring to someone as a vegetable or “veg” as such words dehumanize the person.
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