Coma by Robin Cook
Susan Wheeler is one of the only female medical students starting a surgical residency at a prestigious hospital. Susan is a good-looking woman who is more apt to be mistaken for an exotic dancer rather than a serious medical student. On her first day on residency she finds out about another patient. This patient is the same age as Susan. She came in for a routine D & C, but ended up in a coma and no one knows why.
Susan makes friends with a man going in for surgery on his ankle, but he too ends up in a coma. Susan starts to investigate these comas. It turns out there have been multiple comas in the same hospital that are all very similar. What is going on?
A friendship develops between Susan and her teacher, Bellows. He gives her something of a blessing to do an investigation, but nobody could have guessed the extent of what was happening. People start to get mad at Susan for snooping. Dangerous things happen. Susan has to end up running for her life. Everything involves a strange hospital just down the street and an upstanding medical professional, but will Susan ever get out of it without becoming a casualty herself?
What I liked
This book was definitely intense, suspenseful, thrilling–I liked it. I’ve never read any Robin Cook, but he reminds me of Ira Levin. I know of Robin Cook though.
The scenario in this book could happen. Something like this could be happening, right now, in a hospital near you. People could be mysteriously going in comas, for no apparent reason.
Black market organs is a huge business. I know we’ve all heard that story about the person waking up in a bathtub full of ice when he or she went to Mexico, only to find that someone had cut out their kidney to sell to the highest bidder. Someone might actually steal your kidney, although, if they weren’t actually a trained professional that knew if your kidney could be compatible with someone else, I don’t see what it would profit them to go around stealing kidneys from random people. Kidneys have to match up, people, or at least, close enough.
What I didn’t like
There was a whole lot of sexism going on in this book. To me, it seems that Robin suffers from the male writer’s tendency to make all the women in the book perfect symbols of sexuality. It doesn’t matter if the woman in the story happens to be a doctor, or a construction worker, or a neuroscientist, she has to be sexy too, at least according to a lot of male writers. Male writers have a tendency to be concerned with a female character’s breasts as an actual part of the story–like, the female character can’t seem to do anything without her boobs getting involved. What do boobs have to do with being a doctor? Are you a boob doctor? No? Well, boobs are not a huge concern of most doctors on a day-to-day basis. Female doctors don’t go around having their boobs be a major point of their medical training and decision-making. It’s not like a doctor wonders if a person has lupus or not, but then has to ask her boobs about it, for a second, and third, opinion. Boobs, is it lupus? If that’s the case, the boobs better be named after House characters.
Why can’t a female character just be a female character who is freaking smart, without all of that she’s so sexy stuff? Like the men in the story can’t even really think clearly around Susan because they’re all too darn busy thinking about her boobs. They’re freaking doctors. Do you have any idea how many boobs doctors see all the darn time? When I was a CNA I saw so many boobs that I could not see another boob the rest of my life and be happy, but, then again, I am also not sexually attracted to boobs.
My boobs enjoyed this book, but they would prefer a less sexist view towards women in other medical thrillers.
Do you think black market organ harvesting is going on in our country?
What do you think about this thing where male writers are overly concerned with female characters’ boobs?