A paralyzed patient was seconds from having his life support machine switched off when he opened his eyes and begged British doctors to keep him alive by blinking at them, the BBC revealed Tuesday.
Motorcyclist Richard Rudd, 43, was left critically injured and unable to move after he was knocked off his motorbike last October.
Doctors managed to keep him alive but father-of-two Rudd — who had previously spoken of his wish not to live in a vegetative state after a close friend was badly injured in a car crash — could not respond to his family.
Weeks later, his parents and siblings agreed it was time to let him go.
Doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, central England, were moments away from switching off his ventilator when Rudd managed to open his eyes.
Through a system of blinks, medics from the hospital's Neuro Critical Care Unit managed to ask him whether or not he wished to die.
Rudd replied that wanted to live — and he has since recovered to the point where he can make facial expressions and communicate with his family by blinking.
His heart-wrenching plea for life was caught on film by the BBC, which was producing a documentary entitled "Between Life and Death," to be screened Tuesday night.
Rudd's father — also called Richard — had previously told the production team: "To keep somebody alive while they're suffering and they're not going to get better, it's playing God ... it's going against nature."
But after witnessing his son's remarkable determination to live, he changed his stance.
"At the end of the day, you probably have no right to do that," he says in the program. "But now Richard's in the situation where that's actually happened. It's real life — it's not pretend. He is in that situation. The will to live takes over."