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DH's niece - withdrawing life support

Hi, Folks.

This doesn't affect me directly, in that it isn't my decision, but it's very hard on the family...

My husband's brother's youngest daughter is in her early 20's. She suffered a brain injury as a teen, which resulted in an impaired ability to use good judgement. She is the mother of two small children. She never married the father, whose parents have custody, so she has an apartment nearby, close to her own mother (BIL's ex). This is in a small town in upstate Alabama. She has two adult sisters who live outside Atlanta with their families.

Last week BIL got a call that she had been found in her apartment unconscious and unresponsive. They had gotten her to the local hospital ICU and stabilized. My understanding is that she can breathe some without a respirator, but they are using one to provide support. At some point before she got to the hospital, she had stopped breathing - no one knows for how long. She also has some liver damage. The dr's and police believe she is a victim of a new date-rape drug that has been making the rounds around there.

A few days ago, the ICU staff told BIL that she seemed to have changes in her bp and heart rate as different folks would visit and speak to her, and the neurologist was giving her a 40% chance to wake up - although with probable additional brain damage. Over the weekend, however, all that hope has dwindled away.

Yesterday morning we were told that they would probably take her off the machines sometime this week. The police said, that upon her death, they would immediately order an autopsy. The family has already purchased a crypt in Mississippi next to my MIL (her Granny) who passed in December.

So now we are waiting for that dreadful phone call. DH declined to make the 5 hour trip to be part of the hospital vigil.

Has anyone here gone through anything like this? It's frustrating to get information 2nd and 3rd-hand, but I know DH could not handle being there right now.

I feel like I'm already mourning for her, even though she's not officially gone. She spent a summer with us when she was 11 and LOVED being with our horses. When we saw her in December, she was so animated talking about that time.

Well, that's the good thought I'll keep with me today.

Thanks for listening,
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