News reporting as a cognitive (speech) act
The headline is the only thing of interest here. It is an example of several things. On the one hand, it shows how easily a person's personal tragedy can be abstracted away from the larger symbolism (Terry Shiavo last year and Charles Kennedy this are other examples).
But the really interesting thing is the total lack of any non-literal content. If taken simply at face value (and forgetting about a man very near death) it is rather humorous. Reporting on someone moving their hand is certainly strange. However, this story even lacks much in the way of indirect content. There is no speculation as to what that might mean. Simply a story about the minute to minute health status of one man. The readers have to do all the cognitive work alone (that's why I'm wondering if this could be called a cognitive act).
Now, here's an interesting analogy that has probably nothing in it: What would happen if we talked about cognitive acts (where the adjective would be used analogously to the word 'speech' in speech act)? With a bit of introspection I can say that it is superficially very appealing but I cannot quite see if there is any mileage in it at all. Maybe, social acts in the same vein would be more appropriate. I'm referring to ritual acts, e.g. those described and theorized by Geertz, Turner and Fernandez (and even Levi-Strauss), where one action is performed to symbolize another.