Thank you, I will definitely give this a try. Everything else seemed to be working perfectly up until the battery drained. I didn't notice until too late because I was plugged in and the battery icon showed I was charging, so I believe my data is intact, I just can't get power to the drive to retrieve it.
Apple "generously" offered to replace the logic board free of charge because it seems to be a known problem with the energy management system, but they won't use their special customer data migration tool to help me recover my research data because I'm past warranty. 😠 I've spoken to a few data recovery specialists, and the one who would talk about their method said they will take out each of the 16 chips to extract data, which seems unreasonable (and extremely expensive). Next, I'll be speaking to a lawyer.
My relationship with Apple has outlived two marriages. I've been loyal since my first Macintosh classic back in 1990, and didn't fully appreciate the new post-Jobs company ethos. Apple knows of this defect and has locked everything down so tightly the only access is with their proprietary tools and equipment, which they are unwilling to use in my case. They have lost a lifelong customer, I will not ever purchase another new Apple product.
I know there are a lot of people with the newer SSD MacBooks who are having similar battery and charging issues, I will post any further information that might be helpful for others in this situation.