Comatose, commonly referred to as a coma, is a state of the body the majority of the population is familiar with. However, the average citizen is not fully aware of the details of this convoluted state. Comatose only affects a small portion of the population, and there are several aspects pertaining to being in a comatose including the definition, diagnosis, and treatments.
By definition a comatose is a deep state of unconsciousness in which the patient cannot be awakened, does not have sleep cycles, and does not respond to stimuli such as pain, light, and sound. A long term comatose is referred to as a persistent vegetative state. There are several harbingers that one may be falling into a comatose state including eyes not opening, no response to pain except for reflexes, and no voluntary movements except for reflexes (Nordqvist).
There is no bias as to whether or not an individual falls into a coma. Man or woman, young or old, all people are equally susceptible. However, certain people do run a higher risk of falling into a coma if they have a particular ailment. Individuals who are diabetic run the risk of falling into a diabetic coma during periods of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia (Nordqvist). There are also several other conditions that can cause a person to fall into a comatose. Those with a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain, a condition called hypoxia, are susceptible. Infection causing inflammation to the brain, tissues surrounding the brain, or the spinal cord, as well as strokes (lack of blood flow to the brain) can cause a comatose (Nordqvist). Toxins in the body such as drug overdoses are also a cause because they can cause brain damage (Nordqvist). But as long as the brain is not structurally damaged, people can quickly move in and out of a coma (Morin 217).
The most common and pernicious cause of comas is traumatic brain injury, which most commonly occurs in car accidents. In the United States alone, an average of 1.4 million people endures traumatic brain injury annually. Out of this 1.4 million 50,000 die, 235,000 are hospitalized, and 1.1 million are treated (Morin 193).
A medically induced coma is yet another cause of a coma. Unlike other comas, medically induced comas are caused by a drug administered to the patient, by a doctor, in order to rest a particular part of the brain (Biello). For example, a patient may be put into a medically induced coma if there is lack of oxygen flow to the brain, in order for the brain to heal. Nancy Stack is an example of a patient who was placed into a medically induced coma (Stack).
In the late November of 1998, Nancy began feeling rather listless and took time off of work. One evening when her husband went to check on her, he could see that she was well and called for an ambulance. Once she arrived at the hospital, the doctors realized that there was fluid accumulating in her lungs, resulting in lack of oxygen in the brain (Stack). The doctors placed her into a...