Are Oscars Nominees' Health Plots Accurate or Malpractice?
Dr. Markel says: "This sad but funny tale of a family is partially driven by the results of a boating accident in which the matriarch, Elizabeth, suffers irreversible brain damage and coma requiring life support that is ultimately withdrawn. Her color, the machines she is hooked up to, the frozen features all fairly resemble a real person in a coma. She is probably holding a rag because sometimes comatose patients move about. The comatose Elizabeth may have been digging at her palm with her nails, which the rag prevents.
The scenes depicting the accident and subsequent medical care are not only medically accurate but so, too, are the difficult decisions and family bonding that occurs as a result of her survivors -- father Matt, played by George Clooney, and his two children -- coping with the reality that Elizabeth will never awake from her coma and that active measures must be taken to withdraw life support."