View Full Version : Coma Coma Coma

04-18-2009, 09:47 AM
What's the general procedure when someone is in a coma? what would determine someone being left alive in a coma for say 5 years? As long as the bills are getting paid?

Could I have someone go into a coma in 1978 and wake up in 1986?

04-18-2009, 10:29 AM
As long as the bills are paid, definitely. When you have them wake up...well, that depends on you. Logic demands that you would have to have the person battle a great deal of muscle loss, motor skills failure, ect. Think...Kill Bill.

But at the same time, in Kill Bill whatsherface was able to move her arms and most of her body with no trouble so eh. I watched an episode of House a little while ago where they had a guy awake and walking around in no time and at the time I didn't even question it. In addition Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has his grandpa hopping around like a rabbit before the end of the song.

I think the most important thing I've come to realize as I've been writing and reading is that as the author you make the rules. It's nice to cover all of your bases but if you let something minor go unexplained chances are your reader will take it in stride (to a point! I don't mean you can push someone off a cliff and magically have him sprout wings or anything) just think of it from the view-point of the reader and see if anything you write makes you stop and go "How the hell did that happen?"

04-18-2009, 08:58 PM
Here is an article that outlines the care of the comatose patient. Just so you know, waking up from a long term coma is pretty unlikely; and, in the event that a person does wake up, they are almost guaranteed to be in a highly dependent state. They will not be walking, let alone jumping around.

In adults with PVS secondary to TBI who were reevaluated at 1 yr, the proportion with a good recovery was 7%, moderate disability 17%, severe disability 28%, PVS 15%, and dead 33% (96). In patients with nontraumatic PVS (principally HIE), these outcomes were significantly worse (respectively 1%, 3%, 11%, 32%, and 53%) (96). Younger age and better general health of TBI patients may account for some of this difference.

My emphasis.

ETA: Forgot to link the article (http://www.med.uiuc.edu/internalMed/residency/Curriculum/Critical%20Care%20Literature/CNS/Comatose%20patient.pdf). Duh.

04-18-2009, 09:29 PM
In screenwriting/moviemaking Hitchcock calls these things "Regrigerator moments". It's not untill after the person gets home, is ready for bed- standing at the refrigerator looking for a snack when he thinks - "Wait a minute, logically - that wouldn't have happened!" - Little things in your plot that a reader/viewer will accept untill they're at the refrigerator - hours later.

Yeah, it's cheating... but by then you're long gone with their money!

04-19-2009, 05:45 AM
I used to work in a neurorehab. Comatose patients begin to get muscle atrophy and their tendons begin to tighten fairly quickly. (a few months) Despite physical therapy, their hands would close into fists, and their arms and legs would stiffen. Someone who is in a coma for years would be in pretty bad shape physically.