Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The doctor solemnly approached the elderly couple standing over a young patient in a hospital bed, "I'm sorry to tell you, but your son is in... a coma."

[Cue cheesey, dramatic music as the parents look back at the doctor, aghast in horror. And cut to commercial]

I saw the above scene in a brief soap opera moment on TV while walking through a patient's room.

I got to thinking that I have never used the term "coma" to describe the condition of a patient. In fact, I've never heard anybody else use it either. Nobody really uses the term "coma" because it's too vague and nondescript.

It's as if your auto mechanic tells you after hours of diagnostic tests that your car is suffering from "Check Engine Light".