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Life Support Issues/life support/ brain dead


My brother was in a terrible car accident that  was so traumatic that all the organs in the G.I Tract were severed.  The doctors did immediate surgery but he had lost too much blood. They put him on life support and when we were saying our goodbyes, ( he had a black out from drunk driving never regained consciousness) I noticed tears coming from his closed eyes.  Since they said technically he died in surgery was that just the bodies way of expending its fluid or did he somewhat understand what was going on?  

Thank  you for your time.


I am so sorry for your family to have to endure such a terrible accident and the sudden loss of a family member.

When patients are in ICU on life support they are rarely aware of what is going on. They are kept on strong medications and their bodies are dying. It would be appropriate for your brother to have regrets and sadness but no one could truly say that those were tears caused by emotion.

This experience of sudden loss of a sibling is traumatic grief.  Below is a link that may describe what you are going through. It is important to seek help in processing your loss.  This grief process can be quite complicated and can last a long time.  Many hospices have free grief groups and there are a variety of different types of grief recovery groups (see second link below).   

Likely you have lived for a long time with concerns about your brother and powerlessness over his alcohol abuse. I encourage you to take very good care of yourself during this difficult time. Reach out to people who can help you via individual counseling or group counseling.  

Life Support Issues

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Betsy Murphy


My expertise is in end of life care for adults. Identifying when someone is approaching the end of their life. Benefits and burdens of end of life treatments. Managing pain and other symptoms. Providing care for dying patients at home. Advocating for someone who is dying in a hospital or nursing home.


More than 28 years of experience in hospice care. Currently consulting with hospices to promote access for patients to receive hospice care earlier in the course of their illness. Betsy provides training for hospice marketing staff to effectively work with nursing facilities to help identify eligible patients. She writes Additional Development Request (ADR) letters to Medicare to help hospices get paid for their services and to avoid future claim denials.

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association

Articles: Clinical Reviews, Advance for Nurses, Nursing Spectrum, Washington Business Woman,; Understanding Medical-Surgical Nursing (FA Davis and Company), Guide to Caregiving in the Final Months of Life (TM Brown publishers).

Bachelors of Science in Nursing, additionally trained as a Family Nurse Practitioner and certified as a hospice and palliative care nurse.

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Woman in Loudoun County (VA) by Loudoun County Commission on Women 1997 and 2002.

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