As transplanting organs from coma patients becomes increasingly common, ethicists are having to answer a tricky question, writes John Sanford: "When are you dead?"
Jerome Groopman explores what scanning technology reveals about people who are in vegetative states. "For decades, doctors assumed that patients who have been diagnosed as vegetative lack any capacity for conscious thought," he writes. As it turns out, however, coming up with a working definition of consciousness is a lot trickier than most medical professionals thought.
When they put Scott Macartney in a coma after a skiing accident doctors didn't know if he would live. He did. But could he regain his prowess as a world class skier even as he feared getting hurt again? Jennifer Kahn has the answer. Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of Lucky Jim, the accident victim turned coma patient turned Iron Man.
And in "Conquering the Coma," Malcolm Gladwell posed this question: What does it take to save the life of a coma patient?" His answer: Not a miracle.