Calgary

Family of Lethbridge woman on life support ends fight to keep mother on ventilator

The family of an elderly Lethbridge, Alta., woman on life support has withdrawn their application for a court injunction to keep her on a ventilator.

Darlene Crayne, 71, will be removed from a ventilator Sunday

Darlene Crayne has been in a medically induced coma at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge since suffering a heart attack on Aug. 26. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

The family of an elderly Lethbridge, Alta., woman on life support has withdrawn their application for a court injunction to keep her on a ventilator.

Darlene Crayne, 71, has been in a medically induced coma at Chinook Regional Hospital since suffering a heart attack on Aug. 26.

CBC News reported in September that the medical team in charge of Crayne's care said she only had "minimal brain function" and a meaningful recovery was highly unlikely.

Doctors wanted to remove Crayne from the ventilator, but the family wanted more time for the mother of seven to recover.

No chance of winning

The family decided to withdraw the application after a court hearing on Wednesday, which Crayne's daughter Brenita Holowka  said made the family feel as though there was no chance they would win.

"I didn't want to set a precedent for anyone else that has to fight this fight with Alberta, doctors and hospital, to have on record — a failed attempt at it," Holowka said.

Holowka said a number of doctors turned in reports to the court that all said the prognosis for her mother was bad and the odds of Crayne coming out of the vegetative state was next to zero.

"We desperately tried to find doctors that would take a look at my mother with the being of mind of looking for improvements in my mother's condition," Holowka said. "Unfortunately it was impossible to get a doctor on board in such a short length of time."

'Trying ordeal in a time of crisis'

Holowka said the hospital plans to remove her mother from the ventilator on Sunday at 5 p.m., at which time Crayne will either continue to breathe on her own or pass away. 

Because Crayne has been on the ventilator for over a month, Holowka said her mother will more than likely have trouble breathing on her own.

If she manages to survive the removal of the breathing tube, the family has requested Crayne be moved to a long-term care facility. 

"What I wanted to do was buy my mom more time. It was an extensive ordeal. It was a trying ordeal in a time of crisis to be put in a position where I had to fight to get my mother more time but I did manage to," she said.

"Had I not fought for my mother, they would have kicked her off the ventilator at day five or six and she wouldn't have had this time to recover."