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Thread: Can wizards go into comas?

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    Can wizards go into comas?

    I'm writing a fic, in which the main character is poisoned over the course of a week. Eventually she passes out after coughing up blood, and would it be possible for her to go into a coma for a while? Or do wizards have the ability to pull people out of them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonymaniac View Post
    I'd say definitely yes they can go into comas. If I remember correctly, in book 1, Oliver Wood tells Harry something about being hit with a bludger the first Quidditch game he ever played, and not waking up for a week.
    Isn't that the film...?

    I see no reason why they can't go into comas; we've seen so many other kinds of injuries over the series. In fact, according to wikipedia (I know, not the best source... ):

    In medicine, a coma (from the Greek κῶμα koma, meaning deep sleep) is a state of unconsciousness, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as comatose. According to the Glasgow Coma Scale though, a person with confusion is considered to be in the mildest coma.
    I can think of plenty of times over the series in which people have been unconscious for 6 hours, or at least we can safely assume that to be the case: in HBP, Harry's out for several hours and wakes up covered in bandages several hours later (after Mclaggen whacks him with a Bludger), and in OotP Tonks is knocked out badly enough that she doesn't respond to Moody's attempts to revive her (and we can probably assume his first-aid would be reasonable, given the amount of time he's spent in the field) - obviously it's not explicit that either of these were comas, but there's nothing in canon indicating they can't be... How long is your character out for?

    EDIT: I've been reading more of the wiki page, and it talks about patients in comas needed to be intubated, etc... so maybe there could be magical ways of maintaining breathing, etc? Also (again taken from wikipedia):

    Regaining consciousness is not instant: in the first days, patients are only awake for a few minutes, and duration of time awake gradually increases. This is unlike the situation in many movies where people who awake from comas are instantly able to continue their normal lives. In reality, the coma patient awakes sometimes in a profound state of confusion, not knowing how they got there and sometimes suffering from dysarthria, the inability to articulate any speech, and with many other disabilities.
    So if your character does go into a coma, either they're out of it for several weeks (regardless of how long they're actually in a coma for), or magic is used to awaken them without confusion... Which is maybe a bit too convenient? It depends how good Healers are with brain damage I suppose.
    Last edited by Alex; 09-17-2011 at 10:06 PM. Reason: adding some extra info :)
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    Oliver Wood's reminiscence is from the film, so not canon, but Harry is unconscious after his encounter with Quirrelldemort in PS, and is also unconscious for a while after he falls off the broom in POA. Ron is out of it for quite a while in HBP after the poisoning incident. Although these things aren't comas exactly, it is unconsciousness.

    I don't see why they couldn't be in a coma. A coma is the body shutting down so other parts get a chance to heal. Wizards and witches may be magical but they are also human.

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    I'd say definitely yes they can go into comas. If I remember correctly, in book 1, Oliver Wood tells Harry something about being hit with a bludger the first Quidditch game he ever played, and not waking up for a week.

    Ahem...yes, I believe you all are right. Stupid films...
    Last edited by moonymaniac; 09-17-2011 at 11:41 PM. Reason: mea culpa

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    I'll do this normally. It'll take the antidote a while to kick in, so would it be normal for her to stir on day one, moan or fitful sleep on two to three, and on day four she can start to hear conversations, then she finally wakes up on day five? (for waking up from the coma?)
    Last edited by iMusic17; 09-17-2011 at 09:18 PM. Reason: Nargles- this post belongs at the bottom (NOT up here
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    Yeah, it is a big deal. I'm going to give her a cocktail and call it gooda. Thanks so much! I'll definetely wikepedia them.
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    Thanks. On what Alex said, the character is out for a few weeks to a month. So I'm guessing a charm keeps breathing stable and supplies food and whatnot; she just can't wake up. Its because of a poison, so the healer (Mister Thomas) the new Madam Pomphrey, has to find a cure because she is dying while in a coma. Thanks you guys, you're the best!
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    Quote Originally Posted by iMusic17 View Post
    Thanks. On what Alex said, the character is out for a few weeks to a month. So I'm guessing a charm keeps breathing stable and supplies food and whatnot; she just can't wake up. Its because of a poison, so the healer (Mister Thomas) the new Madam Pomphrey, has to find a cure because she is dying while in a coma. Thanks you guys, you're the best!
    Ahh, ok then, a relatively long time then... Yeah, I think you'll be absolutely fine with her being in a coma, it's just the speed of her waking up that might be problematic. It depends on your plot though, if you've got time for her to wake up slowly over a few days then it'll be fine, but if you need her functioning normally/coherent as soon as they've found how to wake her up, then you need some magical quick-fix for that as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iMusic17 View Post
    I'll do this normally. It'll take the antidote a while to kick in, so would it be normal for her to stir on day one, moan or fitful sleep on two to three, and on day four she can start to hear conversations, then she finally wakes up on day five? (for waking up from the coma?)
    Hard to say, I'm no expert on comas! I think it's to do with the amount of time they are awake for - it starts off just a minute or two at a time, then gradually they're conscious for longer periods. And memory is a big thing too, apparently it's quite badly affected. Again, taken from wikipedia:

    Coma lasting seconds to minutes results in post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) that lasts hours to days; recovery plateau occurs over days to weeks. Coma that lasts hours to days results in PTA lasting days to weeks; recovery plateau occurs over months. Coma lasting weeks results in PTA that lasts months; recovery plateau occurs over months to years.
    Is the coma a big part of your fic? If it is, it's probably worth reading into a bit, even if it's just flicking through the wikipedia page, they're really rather complicated... But you have always got "magic fixed it" to fall back on... I think Hermione was on 10 potions a day in OotP after the Department of Mysteries, so I'm sure you could invent a cocktail of potions in a similar style to take care of any long-term problems once she's regained consciousness... unless you want her to suffer long-term effects?
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    Wow, these posts got seriously jumbled... :S Cocktail of Potions should sort it, can't wait to read the fic
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