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Guide to the Comatose Patient

Expert advice for families and caregivers

Published by Mayo Clinic Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
LIST PRICE $17.99
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About The Book

Caring for a loved one in a coma is a distressing time, full of many questions, and often, not as many answers. Guide to a Comatose Patient is a first-of-its-kind book that steps into the shoes of the neurologist, to show the perspective of the staff caring for their loved ones — what worries us, how we think and intervene, what we can and cannot predict, and what we know as a certainty.

In our hospital ICUs, there are more than a dozen comatose patients at any given point of time. Causes of coma can range from drug-induced coma—in which medications are used to calm the patient and allow the ventilator to work properly—to coma due to intoxication and coma related to a brain injury. No matter the reason, it can be a distressing time for loved ones.

Guide to a Comatose Patient is a helpful guide for any family member or loved one confronted with coma. Author Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, M.D., Ph.D., a leading neurologist and attending neurointensivist at Mayo Clinic, begins each chapter by sharing helpful anecdotes from a career spanning four decades, before diving into the answers to commonly asked questions, such as: 

·       What are the causes of coma?

·       When will the patient wake up and recover?

·       When is no recovery expected?

·       When should we consider organ donation?

·       What are the rates of survival?

While there are many books on families’ experiences with acute traumatic brain injury and coma, Dr. Wijdicks offers an unusually candid conversation that allows a peek inside the minds of the doctors caring for your loved one. Having had many experiences talking to families having to make difficult decisions at a very difficult time, Dr. Wijdicks’s message is hopeful while remaining grounded in reality—a reality in which facts must dictate actions.

Guide to a Comatose Patient provides important information so that families better understand treatment options, but most importantly, the book offers an open dialogue and optimal transparency to help provide hope and healing through times of grief.

Excerpt

Table of Contents:

PREFACE

CHAPTER 1:  What is coma?

CHAPTER 2:  What are the causes of coma?

CHAPTER 3:  What interventions are likely to take place?

CHAPTER 4:  When will we see awakening and recovery?

CHAPTER 5:  When is no recovery expected? 

CHAPTER 6:  What does comfort care mean?

CHAPTER 7:  When do we consider organ donation?

CHAPTER 8:  What are our ethical duties?

CHAPTER 9:  How should healthcare providers and families interact?

CHAPTER 10: What should we believe? Premature and unproven therapies 

QUESTIONS FAMILIES MAY WANT TO ASK

FURTHER READING

About The Author

Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He established Neurocritical Care at Mayo Clinic and is the attending neurointensivist in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at the Saint Marys Hospital campus, Rochester, Minn. He currently serves as the chair in the Critical Care and Hospital Neurology Division in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Wijdicks has authored, co-authored, and edited 25 books on neurocritical care, and has published more than 1,000 research papers, practice guidelines, topic reviews, book chapters, and editorials. He is also the founding editor of the journal Neurocritical Care, the official journal of the Neurocritical Care Society, of which he is an Honorary Member. Along with colleagues at Mayo Clinic, he helped develop the FOUR Score coma scale to help assess the level of patient unconsciousness. Dr. Wijdicks lives with his wife Barbara-Jane in Rochester, Minnesota, and Bonita Springs, Florida.

Previous Publications:

Examining Neurocritical Patients, Springer

Mayo Clinic Critical and Neurocritical Care Board Review, Oxford University Press

Simulation in Acute Neurology

Brain Death, 978-0190662493, Oxford University Press

Handling Difficult Situations,  Oxford University Press

The Comatose Patient, 2nd Ed., May 26, 2014, Oxford University Press

The Practice of Emergency and Critical Care Neurology, Oxford University Press

Product Details

  • Publisher: Mayo Clinic Press (April 26, 2022)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781945564192

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