I’m sure this has been done before. (Hasn’t everything been done before?)
I don’t know why I got to thinking about this as it happened some ten years ago.
My cousin got into a pretty bad car accident and wound up in a coma. The family was maintaining a death watch as we were told that it was only a matter of time before he succumbed. (At one point the last rites were performed.)
He remained in the coma for days which stretched out to weeks though there wasn’t much in the way of improvement.
One day I decided to pay a visit and my uncle and aunt along with one other aunt were getting ready to meet with the panel of doctors to discuss the best course of action. I was prepared to excuse myself from the proceedings but my uncle said that since I was family I should stick around.
The ensuing discussion was one of the most bizarre things I had ever experienced and it seemed straight out of moviedom. They talked of removing my cousin from the life support machinery which would result in certain death. They discussed experimental surgery which might or might not work or whether they should take him home, feeding tubes, whirring machinery and all and see if that would make a difference. The discussion was replete with my aunt (my cousin’s mom) alternately shouting and weeping, my other aunt quietly trying to maintain order and the doctors speaking more frankly than anything I had ever heard. The whole while I sat speechless and merely observed the spectacle unfold. At the end of the discussion there were long hugs all around with the decision to keep my cousin at the hospital and not take the chance with surgery. When I left, my whole being was numb.
Quick footnote before we open things up. My cousin was eventually released for home while still in a coma. He progressively awoke and in the end lost about 20% motor skill ability and about 10% of mental faculty. He was damn lucky all things considered.