January 15th, 2011

Injury to Order - car accident, brain damage

Searches done: brain damage, brain trauma, coma, etc. - lots of good general information, but I need something specific.

I have a character who's been in a car accident. I need her in a coma for a couple/few days, and then I need there to be a crisis in which her substitute decision-maker needs to chose between:

A - no intervention, patient won't die of the treatment but may end up permanently disabled because of the medical issue involved;

B - intervention, in a dangerous way so that the patient may die of the treatment, but if she doesn't she'll have a much better chance of not being permanently affected.

The plot goal is to set up tension between the legal decision-maker and the person who is actually closer to the patient. And I want the decision-maker to chose B, because he acknowledges that the patient is a huge outdoor enthusiast and athlete and would probably make that choice for herself.

I don't need total medical precision, but I need to know how the medical professionals would explain the issue while talking to laypeople.

Thanks for any help!