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On December 21, 1980, heiress Martha "Sunny" von Bulow's body was found, unconscious, on her bathroom floor in Newport, R.I. For nearly 28 years, she lay in a coma as rumors swirled surrounding her state; her second husband, Claus von Bulow, was put on trial and convicted of trying to kill his wife—twice—by injecting her with enough insulin to trigger her hypoglycemia. Claus was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison, but appealed, and was acquitted in a second trial. Sunny von Bulow remained hospitalized for the majority of her life, spending her last years in a Manhattan nursing home, where she died today at the age of 76. Though von Bulow never came out of the coma or even showed signs of brain activity, "doctors said Mrs. von Bülow never showed any signs of brain activity; she was fed through a tube in her stomach. Yet there were always fresh flowers in her room, and photographs of her children and grandchildren sat on a bedside table." [NYTimes]

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DISCUSSION

On the other hand, I wasn't on Jezebel when I heard the story of the woman who was dead for 17 hours (no brain activity, rigor mortis had actually set in, according to the doctors), and when they disconnected the life support to bring her to the morgue, she woke up and started talking.

So I absolutely do not want to be kept in a coma for 20 years with no brain activity. But make sure I'm really, really dead before you do anything, ok?