François Cohadon

Coming Out of a Coma Publication date : October 1, 2000

When the course of a human life is halted or destroyed by the onset of a coma or comatose state, the victim’s loved ones face a very painful situation: learning to cope with a totally or partially absent consciousness in the presence of an inscrutable, inaccessible body.
These states, a fairly recent development in medical history, are the result of the tensions that subsist between modern medicine and death. When confronted with comatose patients, both health-care professionals and loved ones are compelled to address basic questions concerning the mystery of life and death: What can comatose patients experience? What are their “lives” like? What is the future of patients who emerge from comatose states? What can a post-comatose existence be like? What does a partial or complete loss of consciousness entail? What can be done to improve the lives of patients after a prolonged coma? What are the new frontiers between life and death?
The founder of one of France’s first hospital units specialising in comatose states, François Cohadon has more than 20 years experience in the field of cranial traumatism. In Sortir du Coma, he describes the various medical, technical and emotional aspects related to the care of comatose patients, from the first moments of resuscitation, to the regaining of consciousness, rehabilitation and possible recovery. Above all, he shows that the care of comatose patients is an encounter with a human being in an extreme state of dependence. It is a challenge based on trust.
This book will be of great help not only to distraught families but also to health-care professionals, many of whom have received little training in the care of comatose patients and are often overwhelmed by the growing number of such patients.

François Cohadon is a neurosurgeon specialising in brain tumours and cranial traumatism. He is Professor Emeritus at Victor Ségalen University, in Bordeaux.