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June 1968


Author Affiliations

Massachusetts General Hospital Boston

Arch Surg. 1968;96(6):1015. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330240161036

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To the Editor.  —The ability of physicians to maintain life for very long periods in the unconscious patient raises the question as to how long such skills should be deployed. As physicians we are eager to promote the recovery of everyone who can do so. In order to deprive no one of his chances on this score, it is relevant to know the longest periods of coma which have been followed by useful survival.A committee of the Massachusetts General Hospital is studying our own records and the world literature to determine pertinent features in all patients who, despite coma for over five weeks, have made a useful recovery. We think it is vital not to overlook any well-documented patient in this category. We should be grateful if any reader of the Archives would draw our attention to any case published under a title which is not indicative of survival

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