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Coma: Frequently Asked Questions

What is coma?

Today coma is understood medically as a state much like sleep, in which individuals are completely unarousable and are unresponsive to external stimulation and to their own inner needs. However, in ComaCARE we believe that people in coma are working to be more aware of potentially meaningful experiences and can often be reached through special communication methods. Go to ComaCARE How we work
A coma is a sleep-like state where the injured person does not open his/her eyes, does not speak and is unable to obey commands. Comas are divided into several layers based on the responsiveness of the patient to eye-opening, speaking, and movement of his/her extremities. If a patient is able to open his/her eyes, speak and respond to simple commands, they are no longer considered to be in a coma. There are no current medications that can shorten the length of time a person remains in a coma. ...
COMA is a sleep-like state in which the injured person does not open his/her eyes, does not speak, and cannot obey commands like "Stick out your tongue! " or "Hold up one finger!". There are several levels of coma. A number scale called the Glasgow Coma Scale is often used to describe the responses of people in coma. There is nothing magic about this scale, it just attaches numbers to the responsiveness of the head injured person in terms of eye-opening, speaking, and moving his/her extremities. ...
Coma is defined as a prolonged state of unconsciousness. A person in a coma does not respond to external stimuli. There is no speech, the eyes are closed and the person cannot obey commands. Coma can last from hours to days, depending on the severity of the brain damage. It is possible for a person to remain in a comatose state for months and sometimes years. A person may eventually open his/her eyes, but if he/she remains unresponsive, the person could be in what is termed a "vegetative state.

Can coma be misdiagnosed?

The most common misdiagnosis of coma is blindness coupled with inability to speak. Another is so called “locked in syndrome” in which the person is completely paralyzed, or nearly so, though their mental faculties remain normal. These possibilities should be thoroughly checked.

What is a hypnotic coma?

misunderstanding of the Esdaile state. The Esdaile state is incredibly pleasant. In the Esdaile state, you really don't care about what is going on around you. You are totally aware, you are just feeling so good you don't care about what is going on around you physically. Should a medical expert test you, you would exhibit signs of a medical coma. You would be totally non-responsive to outside stimulus, even injury. Thus this state is excellent for surgery because you don't notice the discomfort of being cut or operated on. ...


Diabetic coma is an unfortunate event, it occurs in two different ways. One is due to hypoglycemia, where a low blood sugar level causes fairly sudden loss of consciousness. Secondly, when the insulin dependent diabetic starts to develop high blood sugar level ( hyperglycemia) As the sugar level rises due to lack of insulin, the cells are starved of ‘fuel’. They have burn something to keep alive, and so they start getting through fat instead. ...

What is "permanent coma"?

Permanent coma means a profound state of unconsciousness caused by disease, injury, poison or other means and for which it has been determined that there exists no reasonable expectation of regaining consciousness.

Is it useful for the coma worker to “know” the person before the coma?

It is useful to gather as much information concerning the person’s physical, mental and emotional well being before they entered coma. It is important to know all these factors because if the person begins to return to everyday life, they may be confronted with these deep and everyday issues once again. However do not stress this in communication attempts if you get no positive feedback, because the person may not be relating to this information in their altered state.

What are CoMA's objectives?

CoMA aims to encourage musicians of all abilities to take part in contemporary music-making by: providing opportunities for the creation and performance of new music creating a high quality, contemporary repertoire technically accessible to amateurs building a network of amateur and professional musicians working to further these aims

Is CoMA open to everyone?

YES. CoMA ensembles are open to all comers. CoMA seeks out pieces to play which give opportunities for players of all standards to perform effectively. Sometimes this involves flexible instrumentation, and the use of techniques which all players can use.

What are CoMA's activities?

Full details of all of our activities are on the activities page. We also hold an annual Summer School at the end of July - details of the Summer School programme are on the site.

How long does a coma last?

Generally, the deepest level of coma lasts from two to four weeks. If the person does not waken from the coma, she enters into various stages of semi comatose states, so called vegetative states that include sleep wake cycles. These varying stages of altered states occur in people suffering from traumatic brain injury and in people undergoing metabolic comas from changes in blood chemistry near death. ...

Can I touch the person in coma?

If you introduce yourself and ask permission! All human rights apply to a person in coma. We must be sensitive to client feedback and our own inner feelings. If it does not appear or feel right then follow that feedback.

4. What is a coma?

A coma is as a prolonged state of unconsciousness. A person in a coma cannot speak, their eyes are closed, and they cannot obey commands. Coma can last from hours to days to months or even years. Depending on the length of the coma, the permanent damage to the brain can be very severe.

What causes a coma in head injured people?

Coma in head injured people is usually the result of an injury to all parts of the brain and not just the brain stem. In the majority of cases, a person in a prolonged coma indicates a diffuse injury to all parts of the brain, including the brain stem and in most cases recovery is a slow process. Effects of brain stem injury may include prolonged difficulty with movements, vision, swallowing and other bodily functions controlled by the brain. ...


Being in coma may be compared to being under anesthesia. People in coma may well react to pain by moving, or even groaning, but most often have no memory of pain.


People in coma sometimes show signs that they are able to hear and understand. Often these signs are just simple reflexes -- like squeezing a hand, or sucking, in response to a touch. Occasionally people in coma seem to become calm when they hear a familiar voice. Since they almost never remember these events, it is impossible to decide if they actually recognized a void or understand what was said. ...

Are Coma and Brain death same thing?

Coma is decrease in brain function and thee is a chance that person may regain consciousness. Brain death is irreversible loss of brain function. There is no chance of recovery after brain death.


Coma is a state of unconsciousness that occurs because the brain is injured in some way. The brain still functions and this can be seen in the tests that are performed. The person will be able to breathe on his own without the help of a respirator. The brain, in fact, may heal. Brain death usually results from a severe brain injury or brain haemorrhage which causes all the brain activity to stop. This can happen after a major road accident or a bleeding in the brain due to stroke.

What is a Glasgow Coma Score?

A Glasgow Coma Score is an assessment of a person's level of consciousness according to the following Glasgow Coma Scale: Assessment of conscious level (glasgow coma scale)* Examiner's Test Patient's Response Assigned Score Eye opening Spontaneous Opens eyes on own E4 Speech Opens eyes when asked to in a loud voice 3 Pain Opens eyes under pressure 2 Pain Does not open eyes 1 Best motor response Commands Follows simple commands M6 Pain Pulls examiner's hands away upon pressure 5 Pain Pulls a part of body away upon pressu... ...

Is it only an ABI if there has been coma?

ABI has many levels of intensity. It is possible that someone can acquire a brain injury without loss of consciousness or external bruising or tangible confirmation (i.e., CAT Scans, Skull X-rays, EEGs, etc.) Individuals who have even a mild brain injury may continue to experience a wide variety of symptoms that can have life-changing implications. However, each injury is different and unique for each person.

How does the coma work?

Whenever a Fae is chimerically killed they may not regain their fae mien without help or waiting a minimum of the duration on the mists chart. For all others when they fall out of enchantment they will fall unconscious for the full duration listed below. There is no method of avoiding this period of slumber aside from a very few magical means. ...
CoMA is a membership-based organisation, with regional groups and ensembles throughout the UK, and a central office. It is a company registered as a charity, and is funded primarily through public and charitable sector grant aid. CoMA membership is 16 UK pounds, and members receive a free newsletter, details of all CoMA activities, and special offers on concerts and events.

How is CoMA organised in the UK?

CoMA has a central office in London, which works to produce the quarterly "CoMA News", holds a reference collection of music, and organises national events and funding. Much of CoMA's work is organised by a network of co-ordinators, in each region of the UK. They will always welcome new people contacting them. In many regions there are ensembles which meet regularly to make music, and sometimes to perform.

Is there a living will that recognizes Coma Communication?

Coma Communication: A living will, also known as an advance directive, often contains a declaration that one does not wish to have one’s life prolonged by artificial means. However, once in a coma or state of altered consciousness, we may have a different opinion about our advance directive instructions; many people have life changing experiences in coma while others need time to work through personal, spiritual, family, and relationship concerns. ...

Is the coma patient unconscious or asleep?

Coma Communication: We believe that some level of consciousness is present as long as there is breath. And that we can communicate with people in any state of consciousness, including sleep or supposed unconsciousness. People with traumatic brain injury usually remain in a so called true coma for about two weeks to a month, where they have no sleep/wake cycle. They then change to a vigil coma, commonly called vegetative state, where they exhibit sleep/wake cycles, including opening and closing their eyes. ...

How much can I touch the person in coma?

Coma Communication: Touch is almost always beneficial. It is comforting and breaks the sense of isolation of the one in altered consciousness. Please introduce yourself and ask permission first! Tell the person what you are going to do and report as you are touching. For instance, “Now I’m going to touch your right forearm. Here comes. There.” And then notice feedback. All human rights apply to a person in coma. ...

Are there resources I can read about coma?

Refer to resources page for a reading list. Please contact ComaCARE for further information or visit other places on this website.

Was Terri brain dead or in a coma?

Brain death is not a catch phrase used to describe a persons condition but rather an authentic medical diagnosis determined when respiration and other reflexes are absent. Coma is a profound or deep state of unconsciousness. An individual in a state of coma is alive but unable to move or respond to his or her environment. Terri was neither brain dead, nor was she in a coma.
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