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Coma Book Review

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Title: Coma
Author: Robin Cook
Published: 1977
No. of Pages: 308
Cover Price: $5.99 US



Coma, one of Robin Cook’s earlier bestselling novels, opens with Nancy Greenly going to Memorial Hospital for a routine D&C. Something goes wrong, probably with the anesthesia procedure, and she never wakes up. Susan Wheeler, a 3rd year medical student is starting her surgery rotations with other students, but is very upset at what happens to Nancy. Then she helps prepare Sean Berman for minor knee surgery, talks with him before he’s wheeled in, and accepts a date which will be scheduled after his recovery. There are complications, again in anesthesia, and he never wakes up. Susan begins to look into the statistics of these happenings at Memorial Hospital, and her “meddling” starts causing problems, not only with her, but also with her mentor, Mark Bellows, and others in the hospital. She is a determined woman, however, and pushes her investigation.

During her investigation, Susan sneaks into offices to copy files, goes places she shouldn’t be, obtains unauthorized computer printouts with confidential information, and generally pushes her luck. While she doesn’t know much about anesthesia, she researches the subject and contacts directors of several departments in the hospital to ask for help. Unfortunately, most of the department heads refuse to help her, and tell her to stay out of what isn’t her business with severe warnings. The director of surgery, however, does agree to help, so she spends hours discovering evidence to present to him. She is always on the verge of being not only kicked out of the surgery rotation, but also out of medical school. Although she doesn’t know it, her life is also in jeopardy.

Even though this book was published in the 70s, and medical procedures have come a long way, it is still a fascinating and suspenseful read. The medical scenarios ring true, and Cook deftly weaves the fictional characters through real-life hospital situations. The writing is concise and easy to understand, as well as the story, however, the ending is not as much of a surprise as in some thrillers. For those who enjoy suspenseful medical thrillers, Coma is definitely recommended.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: Coma (Signet Books)

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