Robin Cook’s Coma rocked our trust in large medical institutions when it came out. Patients to the fictional Boston Hospital disappear after entering the hospital. The protagonist, Dr. Susan Wheeler soon discovers the fate of these lost patients.
The curious Dr. Wheeler begins to wonder about the fate of the comatose patients. It seems the initial concern was the quality of medical care. The anesthesia used was one of the suspects. What she finds is more disturbing.
Cook manages to make a convincing expert out of the character of Dr. Wheeler. It should be simple enough given that Cook is a doctor as well. His esperience helps bring Boston Memorial Hospital to life. I’d expect that those little details were things he has experienced himself or has heard of from other doctors and hospital staff. That enriches the experience, making the novel more immersive.
The basis for the plot also makes more sense thanks to Cook’s knowledge. Despite the drama, there is little to suggest hyperbole. Carbon monoxide can kill a person. Intensive care is also expensive care. The idea of the Jefferson Institution as a low cost care unit makes sense in this light.
I feel this is a good book because of the wealth of information about the medical profession and the solid science behind the story.
From a broader perspective, I think it contributed to the idea behind edutainment shows such as the ones on Discovery or National Geographic. Decades later, we would be watching programs like Rome or Mythbusters.
In 1978, MGM released the movie version of the book with a screenplay by Michael Chricton.
Robin Cook has a homepage. Visit the Robin Cook Page and find out more about the author and his latest work.