March 10th, 2009

How much do we know about the Library of Alexandria, and the rest of the ancient city?

I'm trying to construct a reasonable picture of what it would be like to visit the library at Alexandria late in its heyday, which is difficult, given the lack of consensus about when that even was (for my purposes the later we can reasonably go the better) and the fact that the apparent ruins were only found in 2004. I doubt there are definitive answers to many of my questions, but I'd like to get an idea of the balance of probabilities, as far as such a thing exists, at least so I know where I'm free to make it up.

Appearance; nearby landmarks; inscription; women; access; jobs.Collapse ).

Keeping a brain dead patient 'alive'

terms searched: permanent vegetative state, coma, brain dead, withdrawing life support, euthanasia

I have a character that I want to be essentially dead, but kept functioning for about a year (the decision to pull the plug is a major plot point). I don't want there to be any real intellectual controversy about the decision, I just want it to be emotionally difficult.

So, I'm thinking the character has had a head injury leading to brain death, but the more I read, it seems like keeping a brain dead person on life support for a full year would generally be considered a bit inhumane. So my questions are:

1) How common is it for a brain dead patient to be on life support for about a year?

2) Is there anything less 'severe' than brain death that would be more appropriate for this situation? I was looking at permanent vegetative state, but people apparently sometimes recover from that, so a year doesn't seem long enough to wait in that situation. And I'd like to avoid the trauma of withholding feeding, etc. if possible - I'd like it to just be a 'pull the plug' type situation.

3) If brain death seems like the way to go, what would the patient's body be like after about a year? I found some effects of long-term paralysis and coma, but would the effects be the same for a brain dead patient?

So, in summary - an injury a year ago, kept in stasis for a year, now deciding to let him go. Characters doing the deciding are emotionally involved and therefore not totally rational, but not totally insane either. What details do I need to know?

Thanks very much for any help!